What to pack if you’re evacuated

Ready for an evacuation?

What you may want to pack

One key to getting through any emergency situation is preparation.
With wildfires raging here in California, more and more residents are being faced with having to evacuate.

The first thing to pack should be your “go bag” of essentials. That, experts say, should include:
• Water and nonperishable food
• A flashlight
• A first aid kit
• Batteries and chargers for your devices
• Several days’ worth of clothing — including shoes, pajamas, underwear and socks
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for sanitation purposes
• A battery- or crank-operated radio
• Local maps in case GPS isn’t working

Beyond that, there are six categories of things to pack if you need to evacuate.

1) People and pets

Your family members — human and otherwise — should be your first priority when you evacuate. Make sure you have whatever your pets will need on the road and in a shelter — including food and water, bowls for them to eat and drink from, any medication they take and leashes and toys.

2) Papers and phone numbers

Things such as passports, birth certificates and marriage licenses should all come with you. So should the deed to your house or your rental agreement and any other legal documents. If you’re bringing your pet, make sure to pack proof that it’s up-to-date on vaccinations. A list of essential phone numbers should be in there too, in case you end up somewhere with a dead cell phone. Make sure you have numbers for doctors, relatives, an out-of-state contact, neighbors, coworkers, your insurance agent, your lawyer, your landlord and your veterinarian if you’re bringing your pet.


Pack anything you’ll need for your health while away from home. This includes prescription medication as well as eyeglasses, contact lenses and vitamins. Don’t forget toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and contact solution. If you have very young family members, make sure you’ve packed diapers, wipes and the stroller. A first aid kit should already be in your “go bag,” but if it isn’t, make sure to pack one with bandages and gauze, medical tape, an antibiotic cream, antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, over-the-counter pain relievers and antihistamines.

4) Pictures and personal items

This includes photo albums, framed photos and other irreplaceable memorabilia, along with any personal items you wouldn’t want to lose. Some items in this category may include jewelry, a favorite sweatshirt, guitars, crystals, video game consoles, a drone, antiques and a wedding dress.

5) Personal computers

Your computer — laptop or desktop — probably contains a lot of important documents, photos and other files. Computers are vital for staying in contact and accessing critical services if you lose your home or have to be away for an extended period of time. Also, don’t forget your external hard drive if you have photos or pertinent data stored there.

6) Plastics

Your credit cards, ATM cards, insurance cards and cash, along with your ID.

The best way to know if you’re going to be evacuated is to sign up for mobile alerts at NotifyLA.org.

If you’re under voluntary evacuation or an evacuation warning, start loading your car so you’re ready to go as soon as the order comes. Knock on your neighbors’ doors to make sure they’re aware of what’s going on.
As soon as you get a mandatory evacuation order, leave. The most important thing you can save from a fire is yourself.