Review this information now to prepare yourself for a quick and safe evacuation.

Go bag essentials

  • Important documents (bank, IRS, trust, investment, insurance policy, birth certificates, medical records)
  • ATM, credit and debit cards and cash in small bills
  • Medications, Rx numbers and vaccination records for humans and pets
  • Non-perishable food and water for 72 hours
  • Driver’s license, passport
  • Computer backup files & passwords
  • Inventory of home contents (consider making a video inventory now, prior to an emergency)
  • Photographs of the exterior of the house and landscape
  • Address book including medical and veterinarian contact information
  • Cell phone charger, car charger and battery packs
  • Personal toiletries
  • Enough clothing for 3-5 days
  • Family heirlooms, photo albums and videos
  • Batteries

Prepare family members

  • If possible, evacuate all family members not essential to preparing the house for wildfire
  • Plan several evacuation routes from your home
  • Designate a safe meeting place and contact person
  • Relay your plans to a contact person
  • Designate a “safe area” where people can wait out a wildfire (i.e., ballfields, irrigated pastures or parking lots)
  • Register for a local emergency notification system such as “reverse 911” or “CodeRED”
    • Ask your county emergency management for details
    • Update personal information and cell phone numbers in databases

What to wear

  • Wear only cotton or wool clothes, including long pants, long-sleeved shirt or jacket, a hat, and boots
  • Carry gloves, water to drink, and goggles
  • Keep your cell phone, a flashlight, and portable radio with you at all times
  • Tune in to a local radio station and listen for instructions
  • NIOSH N95 or P100 mask

Prepare vehicle

  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full
  • If you can lift your garage door manually, place vehicle in the garage pointing out with the keys in the ignition and disconnect the electric garage door opener. If not, park in your driveway facing out
  • Roll up the car windows
  • Close the garage door
  • Place essential items in the car
  • If you do not drive, make other arrangements for transportation in advance
  • Close garage door when you leave

Inside the home

  • Close all interior doors
  • Leave a light on in each room
  • Remove lightweight, non-fire-resistant curtains and other combustible materials from around windows
  • Close fire-resistant drapes, shutters, and blinds
  • Turn off all pilot lights
  • Move overstuffed furniture, such as couches and easy chairs, to the center of the room
  • Close fireplace damper
  • Close or block off any doggie-doors
  • Lock up firearms or valuables

Outside the home

  • Place combustible patio furniture and barbecues in the house, garage or away
  • from the home
  • Shut off propane at the tank or natural gas at the meter, and clear the area of combustible material
  • Close all exterior vents, doors, and windows
  • Leave gates unlocked
  • Turn on outside lights
  • If available and if there’s time, cover windows, attic openings, and vents with plywood that is at least one-half inch thick
  • Ensure that all garden hoses are connected to faucets and turned off
  • Don’t leave sprinklers on, or water running; they can affect critical water pressure
  • Ensure that house numbers and street signs are visible and reflective if possible

Prepare Pets

  • Have identification on your animal
    • Many animal species can be microchipped (Microchipping is a permanent form of identification for your pet)
  • Have veterinary records and medications in one easy-to-find place
    • Pro Tip: A gallon ziplock bag can keep them dry and catch any pills that may fall out of a container that isn’t securely shut
  • Transport food, water and bowls in easy-to-carry, sealed containers
  • Have a buddy system
    •  Can your neighbors help if you are not home during an evacuation?
    •  Do you have a family member or friend that can help house your animals should you need to be evacuated for an extended time? This can be
  • especially helpful for livestock and poultry
  • Dogs and small pets should be securely crated with only one animal per carrier
    • Normally well-behaved pets can panic and run away during a stressful event; a carrier can keep them safe
  • Remove any non-essential items from carriers or cages, as unsecured items can injure a pet during transport

Prepare horses, livestock and other large animals

  • Have a livestock trailer and reliable vehicle for towing the trailer
  • Practice loading your livestock into the trailer and towing it before an emergency

If you must leave animals behind, notify your local animal service agency as soon as possible!


Smith, Ed 2006, Wildfire Evacuation Checklist, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-06-07

Learn more about the author(s)


Also of Interest:

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Roice-Gomes, J., Adams, J., Kay, M., and Restaino, C. 2021, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-21-120
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CodeRED in Washoe County
If an emergency arises in Washoe County, public agencies utilize CodeRED to inform the public. Registering for CodeRED increases the likelihood that residents will receive these urgent notifications.
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Cobourn, J., Skelly, J. 2009, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, SP-09-07

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Living With Fire

Helping Nevadans and visitors prepare for wildfire