Evacuation Preparation List

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Evacuation Preparation List
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(Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash)

(This article is re-posted from December 9, 2017)

With the Thomas Fire growing and evacuations covering more of Santa Barbara County, it's important to have an evacuation game plan in place. Whether you're in a high fire zone or not, the following are tips that are good for anyone to follow.

What to Have Ready

1. Emergency Kit

A grab-and-go kit that includes essential supplies, such as water, food, first-aid, flashlights, batteries, etc. For a good list of what to include, visit https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.

2. Documents & More

Copies of important papers kept in a plastic, waterproof case. These should include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Deed to your house or rental agreement.
  • Proof of insurance
  • Medical records
  • Passports
  • Social security cards
  • A list of personal contacts
  • Spare keys
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Chargers for electronics and fully charged power banks

3. Medications

Keep all medications that you may need for at least two-weeks in the same place to make it easy to locate and grab in a hurry.

4. Pets

Make sure all pets are micro-chipped and have I.D. collars. A pet grab-and-go kit could include leashes, medications, meal bowls, and three days worth of food and water.

5. Yard Prep

Maintain trees and shrubs so diseased or weakened branches won’t fall down and damage your property.

6. Utility Shutoffs

Learn how to safely shut off all utility services in your home. FEMA has tips for shutting off electricity, water, and gas.

7. Stockpile Materials

Nonperishable food, water, batteries, flashlights, etc.

8. Wildfire Action Plan

Create a designated meeting place for everyone in the household and plan an escape route. Learn more on readyforwildfire.org

Prep Your House

If you have the time to prep your house before evacuating, this will help:

  • Make sure all windows and doors are closed and unlocked. Seal any vents in the ground or attic so that air can’t get through
  • Move all flammable items (including furniture, curtains, window shades, mats, and toys) to the center of the room, away from windows, and doors
  • Shut off gas at the meter, and turn off propane tanks, pilot lights, and air conditioning
  • Leave interior and exterior lights on so that your house remains visible to firefighters through dark or smoky conditions
  • Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots so that firefighters can use them. Don’t leave the sprinklers on, as they might affect water pressure

Time to Evacuate

When an evacuation is recommended by local law enforcement, it's best to leave. This will help you avoid being caught in a fire, smoke or traffic. This will also help firefighters keep roads clear, which allows them to work without obstacles. The difference between warning/voluntary evacuations and mandatory evacuations can be defined here. Essentially a mandatory evacuation means its best to leave as soon as possible while a voluntary evacuation means be prepared to leave at any time.

If you have someone with special needs that require extra attention and time, it's best to leave during the warning and voluntary evacuation period. there’s no need to wait for an evacuation order to leave.

When the need to evacuate arises:

  • Go through your evacuation plan checklist and do whatever you can in the time allowed.
  • Make sure your emergency supply kit is in your vehicle.
  • Cover-up to protect against heat and flying embers. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, cap, dry bandanna for face cover, goggles or glasses. 100 percent cotton is preferable.
  • Locate your pets and take them with you.

Where to Go

The Red Cross will most likely have a shelter set up. Emergency personnel will have the details of where to go or you can find a designated public shelter by texting SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 to find the nearest shelter in your area. 


Learn more on CalFire's Ready for Wildfire website.

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LuckyG Dec 09, 2017 01:15 PM
Evacuation Preparation List

If you are in an evacuation zone leave! Things can be replaced! It costs little to leave early - but can cost you your life if you wait until the last minute.

If you are not near a current fire or disaster - you may be in the future - call your insurance company to revisit your coverage!

In addition to the information in this article, scanning all of your important docs and having them available in a secure cloud based system will make it easier to access from anywhere should you need them.

Also, use your phone to video your property, including the inside and outside of your house and garage.

Open all drawers, closets and cupboards- and verbally say what the contents are. Also mention specialty appliances and construction materials like granite /slate etc - it may help with insurance reimbursement if your house doesn’t make it!

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