Emergency Evacuation Checklist

Update: The terrible fires and evacuations this week in Colorado had my friend remind me how handy this evacuation checklist can be. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!  Spend some time thinking about what you would take if you had to evacuate. It’s much easier to make decisions when you’re calm than panicked.

September 2011:

We’ve been suffering through the hottest Summer on record in Texas and to make life more miserable, we’ve been fighting a record breaking drought as well.  Tropical storm Lee kicked up high winds this weekend and the tinder box that is Central Texas has gone up in flames.  There are multiple fires that were ignited on Sunday afternoon.  The winds, combined with the abundant fuel, have created fast moving fires that are rapidly forcing people from their homes.  My friend was given 5 minutes to evacuate his home.  What would you do in five minutes?  What would you take?

As I pondered that question, I realized if I only had 5 minutes to think about what to take, I would forget a lot of stuff!  It took me about a half hour to come up with the list of things I’d absolutely take with me and even then, when I rattled it off to my friend, she pointed out that I forgot my medications.  Doh!

As I thought about it, I realized I need to write this down.  And tape it to my fridge.  So if I ever get a knock on the door, I can just grab my checklist and run through the house and get the hell out.  Maybe you want to consider making your own checklist too so I made a template which you can find here: Emergency Evacuation Checklist.

I included phone numbers on my checklist because let’s be honest, if I’m ever parted from my cell phone, you can just assume I don’t know your phone number.  Does anyone know phone numbers any more?

So what’s on my checklist you ask?  Here’s what I came up with:

  • My pets (children) on their leashes:  I suppose I could just grab them and run, but that wouldn’t be very practical later when I needed to walk them around.
  • My computer external hard drive:  My whole computer is backed up to that drive.  So if I don’t have time to take the computer, I can just grab the external drive and power supply and run – with all my pictures and important documents.
  • ID and documents: Speaking of documents, I’m grabbing my passport and social security card as well as my purse with driver’s license and insurance information.
  • Medications: Yes, I could get these again, but let’s make life easier and take them with me….and any medications my dogs are taking too.
  • Cell phone: Did I mention I don’t know your phone number if I don’t have that thing?  And I’ll need the charger too.
  • Clothing: I would probably just grab the dirty clothes hamper and run out the door.  Why the dirty hamper you ask?  1. I can use it throw things into like that hard drive I’m lugging around.  2. That dirty hamper probably has at least one of all the clothes in it that I’d need for a few days.  3. It’s way easier to get to than my suit case.  4. I can throw some clean clothes in on top of the other stuff.
  • Toiletries: I could get these at the store, but I have to walk past my pre-packed toiletries travel kit when I’m getting the hamper so it just makes sense to throw them in there.
  • Keys: I need to be able to pull out in my get-away car.  A spare set of key to the house and the car wouldn’t hurt either….you know, in case my first set falls out of the hamper.
  • Sentimental items: There are a few pieces of jewelry and photos I’d take with me.
  • My car: As I said before, I’m getting the hell out.
This is my list, but you might also want to consider a few others:
  • Food and water for you and your pets – especially if you’re on a special diet
  • Bedding or sleeping bags
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Radio
  • Money
  • Cameras and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Glasses
  • Things to keep you or the kids busy – books, toys, etc.
So what’s on your checklist?
–Martta

Linking up here: HookingupwithHoH

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3 thoughts on “Emergency Evacuation Checklist

  1. I did make a list on Sunday evening and the Monday afternoon it came in handy as we watched a fire 1 1/2 miles from our house. I can tell you I was a very unfocused until I picked up the list. Even with the list I was a bit spacey, thinking “this isn’t really happening” and “I don’t want to dump everything out and leave a big mess”. Luckily we didn’t have to evacuate but I will definitely change a few things….such as 1) stay on top of the laundry and house organization. Not cool to be digging through the pile behind the couch or in the washer for your clothes when trying to evacuate or can’t find your keys because you just tossed them when you walked in the door 2) get the photos and documents scanned. I had one entire laundry basket of just scrapbooks 3) practice the drill.

    • Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you didn’t have to evacuate! Thanks for sharing the tip on practicing – we can’t overestimate how the feeling of panic will prevent us from thinking clearly. Praying for some rain to get these fires out soon.

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