Evacuating Your Studio 


Some disasters strike without warning, while others allow hours or days to prepare for evacuation. Your personal safety and that of others always comes first. Do not risk your life or your health trying to save property. Disaster survivors say again and again that after the disaster, property seem much less important, "they are just things...people are what counts."

But if you are prepared and know what you want to take with you, and what you CAN take with you, it may be possible to save some of your most important things. Artists often think to take personal possessions but forget those things that are vital to getting back to work such as business records, documentation of their work and processes, or hard to replace tools.

Again, save what you can, but do not risk your own or others' health trying to do too much.

See also: The Basics: Safety Comes First    

A Watch vs. a Warning

A “Watch” means an event, such as a flood or tornado, is possible in your area

  • Monitor your NOAA Weather Radio and/or TV weather

  • Be ready to take action

  • Begin to gather employees, family members, and pets in case evacuation or sheltering in place becomes necessary

A “”Warning” means the event is already occurring in your area 

  • If the warning affects your area take action

  • Take last minute steps only if they can be done without risking your safety or the safety of others

  • Evacuate if warranted or move to a safe place

 Before Evacuating: IF You Have Time

 If you’re in your studio and have a few to several hours to prepare:

  • Secure your studio (see below Tips for Securing Your Studio).

  • Keep tuned into the local Emergency Alert System (EAS) Channel, and plan two possible evacuation routes.

  • Let your Disaster Buddy know where you’re going and possible routes.

  • Turn on call forwarding on your business landline to your cell phone.

  • Pick and pack up easily portable tools or instruments.

  • Get gas for your car. (Stations on evacuation routes often run out.)



If you have a day or more to prepare:

  • Transport easily portable artwork and tools to a prearranged off-site location.

  • Assemble what you’ll be taking along, and determine how it can be packed most efficiently into your vehicle.

  If you’re away from your studio:

  • Confirm procedures for securing your workspace and shutting down operations with assistants, family or co-tenants.

  • Review the post-disaster meeting place and/or contact system.

Tips for Securing Your Studio 

Water or Wind Event

  • Screw plywood over windows (or permanent storm shutters if you have them).

  • Use tape on windows to reduce shattering.

  • Sandbag doorways and perimeter (hurricane or flooding)

  • Bring outdoor art objects (if easily movable) inside.

  • Lock the entrance(s).


  • Unplug equipment and all cable connections (phone, computer, modem, printer, network) to protect from lightning strikes.

  • Move items to a higher floor if possible and wrap in heavy plastic.

  • Avoid attic and the basement area (if flooding is a possibility) for storage.

  • Get items at least 1 ft. off the floor and away from windows.

  • Wrap shelves, storage units, computers and other equipment in heavy plastic. Secure with waterproof tape.

Wildfires or other fires with advance warning

  • Move gas, fuels, oils and other chemicals—including propane bottles—away from the structure.

  • Clear a fire-safety zone of 30 feet around the perimeter.

  • Connect water hoses to spigots to put out small fires.

  • Lock the entrance(s).

What You’ll Need 

  • Essential business items (Vital Records and Documents)

  • Your Studio Protector “Getting Help” booklet or a D.I.Y. Artist Emergency Kit

  • Medical items for you and your family

  • Disaster supplies (if you are going to a public shelter, bring your own clothes, bedding, food, personal items and disaster supply kit)

  • Easily portable art supplies and tools, sketchbook, cameras, equipment or instruments

  • See the Resources tab for information on assembling a personal disaster supply kit

Taking Your Pet Along

  • Do not leave your pet(s) behind — but remember, public shelters will not allow you to bring an animal.

  • Make sure your pet is wearing identification.

  • Bring at least three days’ supplies for your pet, including medications.

  • Bring your vet’s contact information (in general, pharmacies will fill an animal’s prescription).

To learn more: The Humane Society of the United States has a section on its website devoted to Disaster Preparedness for Pets.

Ready.gov has tips for building an emergency supplies kit for you and your family

The Humane Society of the United States has a section on its website devoted to Disaster Preparedness for Pets.

These web resources have useful tips and diagrams for correctly building a sandbag dike:

The Getting Help booklet from the Studio Protector® Wall Guide has a section for planning for evacuation. Fill in the copy from your wall guide or fill in and print the pages in the version below:


We have made the contents of the Getting Help: Emergency Contacts Pocket ProtectorTM booklet from the Studio Protector® wall guide available as a pdf for you to use, print, and post in the studio. The booklet contains lists of first responders, arts responders, and places to fill in your own emergency numbers, plan for evacuation, and and work through special needs. The fillable pdf file can be filled in, saved and printed for easy reference.