What to Take With You During an Emergency Evacuation

Last weekend, devastating fires in Northern California forced about 200,000 people to evacuate – the largest evacuation in Sonoma County in its history, writes The Washington Post . Meanwhile, just a few hundred miles south, the Getty fire has already engulfed at least 500 acres in the Los Angeles area and forced thousands of others to evacuate.

As fires continue to drive people out of their homes, on Twitter, the Los Angeles Disaster Management Agency tweeted easy-to-remember evacuation packing tipsā  – which can be applied to any emergency you might find yourself in like a hurricane or leaving the house during a power outage. For your convenience, print this list now (or write it down and keep it in a safe place) so you can quickly skim it over without panicking to find Wi-Fi or electricity to find it again. If you ever find yourself in a quandary, just heed these tips – or the Six Ps – as they say.

  • People and pets
  • Papers, phone numbers and important documents
  • Recipes, vitamins and glasses
  • Paintings and irreplaceable memorabilia
  • Personal computers
  • “Plastic” and cash (eg credit cards)

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

On the other hand, if you can leave your home for a few days, or if the emergency is more serious, consider packing a travel bag before you evacuate if you have enough time. In addition to the above items, for example, you should pack food and water.

With regard to fires, FEMA has also made similar suggestions on Twitter. They recommend rolling up car windows and covering vents to avoid inhaling smoke, and packing pet supplies, including bowls for food and water.

And don’t forget to register with your local alert system as well. Many locations, including Los Angeles and Sonoma County, have emergency alerts set up so you can receive text messages or emails with updates; search online for the one closest to you and register now.


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