Home Evacuation Checklist and Resources for Fire Victims

My heart aches for all the families affected by the fires that have raged across Northern and Southern California in the last week. Some of you are returning to homes that are thankfully still in tact, but I understand that many have lost their homes to the Woolsey Fire and Camp Fire, and face a long road to recovery.

With fires still burning across the state, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and thousands more remain under mandatory evacuation orders. Some of you are still on standby, waiting to see if your neighborhood or city will be evacuated either due to fire or air quality.

Cal Fire has prepared a thorough home evacuation checklist for those who may face mandatory evacuation:

Indoor Home Evacuation Checklist

  • Shut all windows and doors

  • Remove flammable window shades or curtains and close any shutters

  • Move flammable furniture to the center of the room away from windows and doors

  • Shut off gas at the meter and turn off pilot lights

  • Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions

  • Shut off air conditioning

Outdoor Home Evacuation Checklist

  • Gather flammable items from outdoors and bring them indoors or place them in your pool (e.g., patio furniture, door mats, trash cans, children’s toys, etc.)

  • Turn off propane tanks

  • Move any propane BBQ appliances away from structures

  • Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof

  • Connect garden hoses to outdoor water valves or spigots for use by firefighters

  • Fill water buckets and place them around the exterior of the house

  • Do not leave sprinklers or water running

  • Locate your pets and keep them nearby in the appropriate carrier, kennel or cage

I’ve also put together an emergency supply kit checklist with suggested items to have on hand should you have to evacuate your home in the coming days. Store these items in a duffle bag with a strap and handles, or in a backpack. I recommend using a bright colored bag if possible to make it easy to locate at all times.

Emergency Supply Kit Checklist

  • Cell phone, charger

  • Cash, credit cards

  • Water

  • Non-perishables

  • Can opener

  • Prescription medications

  • Blankets

  • Unscented baby wipes

  • Antibacterial soap, gel

  • Shampoo, conditioner

  • 3 changes of clothes

  • Socks, underwear

  • Diapers

  • Flashlight, extra batteries

  • First aid kit

  • Copies of important documents (i.e., medical cards, birth certificates, passports, etc.)

  • Personal computer information on a hard drive

  • Personal items with sentimental value (e.g., family photos, heirlooms, journal)

I hope this post is helpful to you and your loved ones during this time of need. I will continue to hold space for you and all those impacted by these devastating fires, and pray for speedy resolve, healing and rebuilding.

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