What To Pack During An Emergency Evacuation

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Over the weekend, devastating fires in Northern California forced an estimated 200,000 people to evacuate—the single largest evacuation in Sonoma County in its history, the Washington Post writes. Meanwhile, just a few hundred kilometres south, the Getty Fire has already engulfed at least 200 hectares in the Los Angeles area and forced thousands of others to evacuate.

While the fires continue to drive people from their homes, on Twitter, the LA City Emergency Management Department tweeted out easy-to-remember packing tips in the event of an evacuation⁠—which can be applied to any emergency you might find yourself in, like a tornado or leaving your home during a blackout. For your benefit, print this list out now (or write it down and keep it somewhere safe), so you can consult it in a rush, without panicking to find Wi-Fi or electricity to find it again. If ever you’re in a bind, just defer to these tips—or the “six P’s”— as they put it.

  • People and pets

  • Papers, phone numbers, and important documents

  • Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses

  • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia

  • Personal computers

  • “Plastic” and cash (ie. credit cards)

Obviously, you should tailor this list to your particular needs and the emergency in question. If it’s a blackout, you can probably survive without pictures and other memorabilia. (Be sure to check out our prep guide for power outages, specifically.)

A burning home in Geyserville, California. (Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

If, on the other hand, you might leave your home for days at a time or the emergency has graver consequences, consider packing a “go bag” before you evacuate if you have sufficient time. In addition to the items above, you should pack food and water supplies, for instance.

Specific to fires, America's Readygov has offered similar suggestions on a Twitter thread. They recommend rolling up car windows and closing vents to avoid smoke inhalation and packing any necessities for pets, including food and water bowls.

And don’t forget to sign up for your area’s local alert system, too. Do an online search and sign up now.


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