This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using them, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this site running – thank you!
Unforeseen circumstances can happen anytime, anywhere. While it can catch us off guard, it doesn’t mean that we have to be completely unprepared for any situation that may arise.
Because bushfires, hurricanes, and floods happen.
While this packing list may not be about travel in the fun way that we generally promote on Her Packing List, it’s one that is definitely overdue. Planning ahead helps. It helps you to have a hassle-free trip, and it helps you when you’re in an emergency situation.
That’s why we’ve come up with this article to help you create an Emergency Evacuation Packing List.
Why You Should Have an Emergency Evacuation Packing List
There’s nothing worse than being woken up in the middle of the night because of a raging bushfire near where you live and having to evacuate. You’ll most likely be panicking and all over the place, not thinking clearly as to what you need to grab with little time to spare.
An emergency evacuation packing list will keep you from running around like a headless chicken. You won’t struggle with making a quick mental list, and you won’t unknowingly leave those really important documents and valuables behind in the panic.
You’ll already know which items should be packed and taken with you when you evacuate.
In an emergency, time is of the essence; you need to be quick and get your valuables – within minutes – or you might find yourself in a dire situation that you can’t escape from.
Please Note: If your situation is truly extreme, like a building fire, forget the list completely and find safety! YOU are your most valuable commodity, and the rest are just things. If you have a few minutes to spare in your particular emergency, this list can help you choose what’s actually important.
What to Include on Your Packing List
This can vary from person to person and the possible situations that may arise in their locale.
- Are you living in a flood-prone area?
- Does your backyard look out into a forest that has had wildfires in the past?
- If you do need to evacuate, where will you go and what will you need when you get there?
Gwen Steel, a member of the HPLWorld Community shared the packing list she made after receiving an evacuation notice for wildfires that came as close as 5 miles from her home.
*Please note: This list assumes that Gwen had a place to go when evacuated. Otherwise, you might want to include sections for food, cooking, and shelter items.
Build your packing list based on you and your family’s necessities. Here are some basic items to get you started:
- Deeds, titles, and registrations. Proof of ownership for real estate properties, vehicles, etc.
- Insurance documents. House insurance, medical/health insurance, car insurance, 401k, etc.
- Electronics. Laptops, chargers, extra batteries, and other electronics.
- Clothing. One to two sets of shirts and pants, outerwear, and underwear.
- Toiletries. Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, towel.
- Personal items. Wallet, car keys, identification cards, passport.
- Medicine. Prescription and over-the-counter medication, Epi-pen, first aid kit, etc.
- Food and water. Preferably in easy-to-open containers and non-perishable.
- Children’s necessities. Food, clothes, toys.
- Pet’s necessities. Food, water, and food bowls, litter box.
Where to keep your emergency evacuation packing list
Keep your list in a visible area that you always see so that when an emergency happens, you know exactly where to look for it. We suggest keeping a copy in multiple locations, and especially near the front door.
You can also save a digital copy to the cloud, on your phone, or use a packing list app.
Going One Step Further: Assemble a Grab Bag
If you live in an area where there are frequent calamities (like in a prominent hurricane zone), or if you have a family member with health conditions that lead to surprise hospital visits, it might make better sense to pack a grab bag.
A grab bag is your evacuation bag that has the necessities in case something happens. No need to pack: you already have everything you need in this bag.
A basic grab bag can include any of the following:
- Water (enough for at least 3 days)
- Food (ready to eat, non-perishable)
- Manual can opener (if packing canned foods)
- Battery-powered radio
- First aid kit
- Prescription medicine
- Tissue paper
- Moist towelettes
- Garbage bags or plastic bags
- Extra batteries and battery packs
- A change of clothes
- Waterproof jacket
- Photocopy of important documents and identification
But won’t my grab bag belongings go off?
We suggest setting an alarm or scheduling a calendar event where you address and refresh your grab bag belongings every 6 or 12 months. At this time, you can replace the items with fresh items and use what was in the bag before it goes off.
Keeping your valuables safe
Original copies of important documents like deeds of properties, wills, insurance policies, and passports, should always be kept in a container that is fireproof, waterproof, and insect-proof.
The most simple way to keep them dry is to put them inside plastic, waterproof envelopes, but if you want something more secure, fireproof document bags are available (like this one on Amazon).
If you have more valuables to store, a safe might be a better option (like this cabinet safe on Amazon). You can also look into storing them in your bank’s safe deposit box, but bear in mind you won’t be able to access these items as easily.
Preparedness is key
We often find it hard to imagine the worst case scenario actually happening to us, but that’s the problem. Emergency situations are a surprise in most cases, and it isn’t until we get into the reality of one that we wish we had put this list together sooner.
So take a few minutes to create the emergency evacuation packing list that you and your family need now. It doesn’t take long, and you’ll thank yourself later should you ever need it.