Step 1: Sign Up for Emergency Notifications

Local Emergency Notification Systems, commonly known as Reverse Dial, are used by safety officials to send phone calls, emails and texts to a specific area with a prepared message during an emergency. For example, if an area is asked to evacuate, this message will be sent to all of those residents who are in the system. Some residents might not receive these messages if the electricity fails, if the resident isn’t home during an emergency, does not have a land line, or if they have an unlisted phone number. Most systems allow residents to enter multiple forms of contact information, such as an unlisted home number, cell phone, work phone and email address into the database. The following are links on how to register in counties and areas that offer this service: ** Note** Not every county has Reverse Dial. If there is no Local Emergency please refer to your county’s emergency manager.

Step 2: Prepare my Home and Family for Evacuation

Residents of a fire adapted community are prepared to safely and effectively evacuate. To prepare in advance:

  • Meet with household members. Explain dangers to children, and work as a team to prepare your family for emergencies.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Post emergency phone numbers near phones.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at your home.
  • Select a safe meeting point, in case you are separated from family members.
  • Choose an out-of-town contact because it is often easier to make a long-distance phone call than a local call from a disaster area. Everyone must know the contact’s phone number.
  • Complete a family communications plan that includes contact information for family members, work and school.
  • Teach children how to make long-distance phone calls.
  • Complete an inventory of home contents and photograph/video the house and landscape. Place files in your to-go bag and store a second copy in a location outside of your community.
  • Identify escape routes and safe places, and draw an escape plan highlighting two routes out of each room. Be sure everyone in your family knows them.
  • Prepare EVACUATED sign. Select a site to post signs where they will be clearly visible from the street.

Step 3: Make a To-Go Bag and Disaster Supplies Kit

The to-go bag should be prepared now, before an emergency, be easily accessible and filled with at least a three day supply of items needed to help you quickly and safely evacuate your home. You may only have enough time to retrieve this bag. Essentials include:

  • Clothing and personal toiletries.
  • Inventory of home contents and photographs/videotape of the house and landscape.
  • Contact your insurance agent for an inventory checklist.
  • Flashlight, portable radio tuned to an emergency radio station and extra batteries.
  • Change batteries annually.
  • Extra set of car and house keys.
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses.
  • Contact information for family, friends and physicians.

If you anticipate an extended evacuation at an emergency shelter or your family is returning to a home without functioning electricity and water, these additional items for a disaster supplies kit will prove helpful:

  • One gallon of water per person, per day stored in unbreakable containers and labeled with the storage date. Replace every six months.
  • Supply of non-perishable packaged or canned foods with a hand-operated can opener.
  • Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel.
  • First aid kit, including a first aid book.
  • At least one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
  • ABC-type fire extinguisher.
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
  • Large plastic trash bags, tarps and rain ponchos.
  • A large trash can.
  • Bar soap, liquid detergent and household bleach.
  • Rubber gloves and duct tape.

Step 4: Understand Special Needs of Vulnerable Populations

Prepare to address the special needs of vulnerable populations, including the elderly, people with medical problems and people with certain disabilities.

  • If the family member is dependent upon medications, equipment or has special dietary needs, plan to bring those items with you. Documentation about insurance and medical conditions should also accompany the person.
  • Transportation available to the general public during an emergency evacuation may not be suitable for family members with special needs. Plan ahead for their transportation.
  • Many special needs populations are easily upset and stressed by sudden and frightening changes. Your plans should ensure that a caregiver or trusted family member is able to stay with them at all times during an evacuation.

Step 5: Prepare for Pets

Prepare to address the needs of your pets if you have to evacuate.

  • Make sure dogs and cats wear properly fitted collars with identification, vaccination, microchip and license tags.
  • Your pet evacuation plan should include routes, transportation needs and host sites. Share this plan with trusted neighbors in your absence.
  • Exchange veterinary information with neighbors and file a permission slip with the veterinarian authorizing emergency care for your animals if you cannot be located.
  • Make sure all vehicles, trailers and pet carriers needed for evacuation are serviced and ready to be used.
  • Assemble a pet to-go bag with a supply of food, non-spill food and water bowls, cat litter and box and a restraint (chain, leash or harness). Additional items to include are newspaper and paper towels, plastic bags, permanent marker, bleach/disinfectant solution and water buckets.

Step 6: Print Evacuation Checklist

Remember, there is nothing you own worth your life! Please evacuate immediately when asked by fire or law enforcement officials. If you are concerned, don’t wait to be asked to leave. Drive slowly, turn on your vehicle headlights and stay as far to the right side of the road as possible. Always register with official personnel when you arrive at a shelter. Print this Wildfire Evacuation Checklist and, if you have time, use it as a guide to evacuate quickly and safely.

Kay, M. 2020, 6 Steps To Create an Evacuation Plan, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno

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