What should i pack in an emergency evacuation?

Sonja Nguyen, contributor

This year we have lived through one of the worst fire seasons in California history. Not only that, but we are already living in earthquake territory, specifically near the San Andreas Fault. Due to circumstances like these, it is always good to have an emergency plan and knowledge of what to pack in case of evacuation.


Make sure they are going to survive the emergency too! It is in your best interest that they are microchipped and/or have an ID collar with the phone number of a family member. However an important note to remember: most emergency shelters will not allow pets so if you have a pet, make sure you know that wherever you’ll be staying will let your pet stay with you.

Important papers

Even though teenagers don’t normally keep their own paperwork, they should know where it is kept and they should make sure that those papers are the first thing that is brought with their family in case of emergency. This includes but is not limited to Social Security cards, immigration records, immunization records (for pets as well if you have one), birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, proof of insurance, passports, and a list of contacts.

Money and Keys

You may not know where you’re going if you have to evacuate but you can bet that you’re going to need money there. Credit or debit cards are vital too. You do not want to lose access to essential items after an emergency, so bring the keys to any safes, mailboxes, or doors.

Medication and First-Aid Kit

Bring a week’s worth of medication with you. This includes inhalers, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and their batteries, and contact lenses. If you can, have the prescription handy as well. Also, injuries may occur while you are on the way to your evacuation safe place so have the first-aid kit with you. Also, make sure to bring a face covering for each person to filter contaminated air and to stop the spread of illnesses that can be transferred through coughs and sneezes.

Food and water

Have 3 days’ worth of non-perishable food and 3 gallons of water per day per person. It is also smart to have a manual can opener with you as well.


Try to aside enough clothes to will last a week. It’s best to have clothes that are lightweight, can be worn in layers, and/or waterproof. It is also important to have a jacket and a pair of comfortable closed-toe shoes for each person as well.

Hygiene Items

Remember to be sanitary wherever you are going! Bring along wet wipes, hand sanitizer, feminine products, a toothbrush for each person, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toilet paper . Another important note to remember is that baby supplies may be hard to find wherever you go so carry along a week’s worth of necessities if you have a baby in your household.


Bring along a flashlight, a hand-turned radio, and extra batteries for both. Pack your electronics as well. Don’t forget the chargers! It is recommended that you have prepaid phone calls or coins for phone calls.

Other Essential Items 

Bring a multi-purpose tool, plastic bags, toilet bags, and a local map with two evacuation routes marked. Have a whistle in case you ever need to signal for help and have plastic sheets, garbage bags, ties, and duct tape to protect locations from airborne contamination. 

If Circumstances Allow

Bring along “comfort” items and other things you consider valuable, like family or personal photos. Have your computer information in a hard drive or flash drive that you can bring ready to go. Pack paper plates, utensils, paper, pencils, books, games, and activities for the family. Pack a blanket or sleeping bag for each family member as well.

This may have been a long list but it highlights what is most important to pack so that, should the occasion ever arise, you aren’t wasting time wondering what to bring. Get ready, get set, get going! Stay safe, everybody!

Drawing by Sally Hoang, cartoonist

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