How Do I Create A “go-bag” Specifically For Wildfire Evacuations?

how do i create a go bag specifically for wildfire evacuations

Wildfire evacuations can be a daunting ordeal, causing anxiety and uncertainty. That’s why it’s essential to be prepared and have a “go-bag” ready, specifically tailored for such situations. In this article, we will help you navigate the process of assembling your go-bag, ensuring that you have all the essentials packed and ready to grab when the need arises. From important documents to emergency supplies, we’ve got you covered, so you can face wildfire evacuations with confidence and peace of mind.

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Selecting the Right Bag

Choose a durable and waterproof bag

When creating a “go-bag” specifically for wildfire evacuations, it is essential to start by selecting the right bag. Look for a bag that is durable and waterproof to ensure that your belongings are protected during a potential emergency situation. A bag made from sturdy materials like nylon or canvas would be ideal. Additionally, consider opting for a bag with multiple compartments and pockets to help keep your items organized and easily accessible.

Consider the size and capacity of the bag

Another crucial aspect to consider when selecting the right bag for a wildfire evacuation “go-bag” is its size and capacity. You want a bag that is large enough to hold all the necessary items but not so large that it becomes cumbersome to carry. Assess your needs and the number of people the bag will be catering to. It may be wise to choose a bag with adjustable straps or a backpack-style bag that evenly distributes the weight and provides more comfort during evacuation.

Ensure the bag is comfortable to carry

While the durability and size of the bag are vital, it is equally important to ensure that the bag you choose is comfortable to carry. During a wildfire evacuation, you may need to walk long distances or navigate through challenging terrain. Opt for a bag with padded shoulder straps or a bag that has a chest and waist strap. These additional features can help distribute the weight evenly and reduce strain on your back and shoulders. Comfort should not be overlooked when selecting the right bag for your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.”

Important Documents and Personal Information

Keep copies of identification papers

When it comes to evacuating during a wildfire, it’s crucial to have copies of your identification papers readily available. Make copies of important documents like driver’s licenses, passports, and any other identification you and your family possess. Store these copies in a waterproof envelope or a ziplock bag to protect them from possible water damage. Having these copies ensures that you can readily prove your identity if necessary, allowing for a smoother evacuation process.

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Include important documents and records

In addition to identification papers, it is essential to include other important documents and records in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” This can include documents such as insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, and any other vital records that may be needed. Consider storing these documents in a fire-resistant document bag or a sealed plastic bag to protect them from the elements during an evacuation.

Store emergency contacts

One significant aspect of preparing your “go-bag” for a wildfire evacuation is keeping a list of emergency contacts. Include the contact information for family members, friends or neighbors who might be outside the evacuation zone, and emergency services like local law enforcement, fire departments, and hospitals. It’s helpful to have this information on hand in case you need assistance or need to inform loved ones about your whereabouts during a wildfire evacuation.

Essential Supplies

Pack non-perishable food and water

When preparing for a wildfire evacuation, it is essential to pack non-perishable food items and an adequate supply of water. Select foods that do not require refrigeration and have a long shelf life, such as canned goods, protein bars, and dried fruits. Aim to pack at least a three-day supply of food and water per person. Remember to regularly rotate these supplies to ensure they remain fresh and ready for use in case of an evacuation.

Include a first aid kit

A well-stocked first aid kit is a crucial item to include in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” It should contain essential medical supplies such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, tweezers, and any specific medications or medical supplies that you or your family members may require. Check the expiration dates of the items in your kit periodically and replenish any used or outdated items to keep it up to date.

Carry a flashlight and extra batteries

In an emergency situation like a wildfire evacuation, power outages are not uncommon. Therefore, it is essential to include a flashlight and extra batteries in your “go-bag.” This will provide you with a reliable light source to navigate through dark or unfamiliar surroundings. Opt for an LED flashlight as it is more energy-efficient and can conserve battery life for longer durations. Ensure that you periodically check the batteries and replace them as needed to guarantee they are in working condition.

Pack a multi-tool and a whistle

Including a multi-tool and a whistle in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag” can prove to be invaluable during an emergency situation. A multi-tool with features like a knife, pliers, and screwdrivers can be incredibly useful for various tasks that may arise. Additionally, having a whistle can help you attract attention and signal for help if needed. Remember to familiarize yourself with how to operate these tools properly and keep them easily accessible in your bag.

Clothing and Personal Items

Include a change of clothing and sturdy shoes

It is important to include a change of clothing and sturdy shoes in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” This will ensure that you have clean clothes to wear and appropriate footwear for walking long distances or navigating through potentially hazardous environments. Choose clothing suitable for the prevailing weather conditions and consider packing items that are quick-drying and moisture-wicking. Sturdy shoes or hiking boots with good traction are essential for comfort and safety during evacuation.

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Pack personal hygiene items

Maintaining personal hygiene during an evacuation is crucial for both your physical and mental well-being. Include personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and any other necessary items in your “go-bag.” These items can help promote a sense of normalcy and comfort during uncertain times. Remember to periodically check and replace these items as needed to maintain their freshness and usability.

Keep a sleeping bag or blanket

It is advisable to include a sleeping bag or blanket in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” Evacuation shelters or temporary accommodations may not always provide sufficient bedding, so having your own can provide added comfort and warmth during the evacuation process. Opt for a lightweight and compact sleeping bag or blanket that is easy to carry and store in your bag. Regularly air out and clean these items to keep them fresh and ready for use.

Medications and Medical Supplies

Store prescription medications

If you or your family members rely on prescription medications, it is crucial to include an adequate supply in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” Ensure that medications are stored in their original containers with the proper prescription labels to avoid any confusion. Remember to periodically check the expiration dates of the medications and replace them as needed. It may be wise to pack medications that are essential for at least a week to ensure you have an ample supply during an evacuation.

Include basic medical supplies

In addition to prescription medications, it is important to include basic medical supplies in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” Items such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic ointment, disposable gloves, and pain relievers can help manage minor injuries or illnesses that may occur during the evacuation process. Consider any specific medical conditions or needs of you and your family members and pack accordingly. Regularly replenish any used or depleted supplies to maintain a fully equipped medical kit.

Communication Essentials

Carry a fully charged cellphone and charger

During a wildfire evacuation, staying connected with loved ones and receiving important updates is crucial. Ensure that you have a fully charged cellphone and a charger in your “go-bag.” Keeping your cellphone charged and ready will allow you to make emergency calls, receive notifications, and access crucial information during the evacuation. Consider investing in a portable power bank to keep your phone charged even when access to electricity is limited.

Include a battery-powered radio or weather alert radio

In emergency situations, it is essential to stay informed about the latest developments. Including a battery-powered radio or a weather alert radio in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag” can help you keep up with important news and updates. These radios typically have access to emergency channels and can provide you with vital information regarding evacuation routes, weather forecasts, and other relevant announcements during a wildfire emergency.

Cash and Valuables

Keep a small amount of cash

In the event of a wildfire evacuation, access to banking facilities may be limited, and electronic transactions may be disrupted. It is advisable to keep a small amount of cash in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” This cash can be used for immediate needs such as purchasing food, water, or other essential items during the evacuation process. Keep the cash in small denominations and in a secure, waterproof container within your bag.

Include important documents

Alongside your copies of identification papers, it is also essential to include any other important documents in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” This can include documents such as insurance policies, property deeds, or legal documents. Secure these documents in a fire-resistant document bag or a sealed plastic bag to protect them from any potential damage. Having these documents readily available ensures that you can access them if necessary, even during an emergency situation.

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Pack personal valuables

When preparing your “go-bag” for a wildfire evacuation, it is advisable to include any personal valuables that hold sentimental or monetary significance. This can include items such as jewelry, family heirlooms, or irreplaceable photographs. It is essential to strike a balance between carrying items that are important to you and ensuring that your bag remains lightweight and manageable. Remember to consider the safety and security of these items as well.

Pet Supplies (if applicable)

Include pet food and water

If you have pets, it is crucial to include their supplies in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” Pack enough pet food and water to last for at least three days. Opt for dry pet food that has a long shelf life and consider individual portion packs to minimize waste. Keep the pet food stored securely in a waterproof container to prevent spoilage or contamination. Additionally, pack collapsible bowls for food and water to ensure easy feeding during the evacuation.

Carry a leash and collar

In a wildfire evacuation, it is essential to have control of your pets for their safety and the safety of others. Include a sturdy leash and collar for each of your pets in your “go-bag.” These items will help you maintain control during the evacuation process and prevent your pets from getting lost or injured. Ensure that the leash and collar are in good condition and provide a secure way to fasten them to your pets.

Pack pet medications and vaccination records

If your pets require medication or have specific medical needs, ensure that you include an adequate supply in your wildfire evacuation “go-bag.” Pack any necessary medications in their original containers with the proper prescription labels. Additionally, include copies of your pets’ vaccination records in case they are required for temporary housing or medical care during the evacuation. Having these supplies readily available will help ensure the health and well-being of your furry friends.

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Emergency Tools and Equipment

Include a fire extinguisher

In the event of a wildfire evacuation, having a fire extinguisher readily available can be crucial for your safety. Include a compact fire extinguisher in your “go-bag” to help you deal with small fires that may occur in emergency situations. Familiarize yourself with the proper operation and maintenance of the fire extinguisher beforehand. Ensure that the fire extinguisher is easily accessible in your bag and periodically check its functionality to guarantee it is in working condition.

Carry a foldable shovel and gloves

In emergency situations like wildfire evacuations, it can be beneficial to have a foldable shovel and gloves in your “go-bag.” These tools can assist you in various tasks, such as digging a firebreak or clearing debris. Opt for a foldable shovel that is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry. Additionally, include a pair of sturdy gloves to protect your hands while handling potentially hazardous materials. Regularly inspect these tools to ensure they are in good condition and ready for use.

Pack a portable phone charger

During a wildfire evacuation, access to electricity may be limited or unreliable. It is essential to include a portable phone charger in your “go-bag” to keep your cellphone or other electronic devices powered. A portable charger can provide an additional source of power when electricity is not available, allowing you to maintain communication and stay informed during the evacuation process. Remember to periodically charge and test the portable charger to ensure it functions properly.


Creating a “go-bag” specifically for wildfire evacuations requires careful consideration of the items and supplies necessary to ensure your safety and well-being. By choosing a durable and waterproof bag, organizing important documents and personal information, including essential supplies, packing clothing and personal items, storing medications and medical supplies, carrying communication essentials, safeguarding cash and valuables, preparing pet supplies (if applicable), and possessing emergency tools and equipment, you can be better prepared for any potential wildfire evacuation situation. Remember to periodically review and update your “go-bag” to ensure that your supplies remain current, functional, and effectively address your needs. Taking proactive steps to prepare a comprehensive “go-bag” can provide peace of mind and increase your readiness to navigate and adapt during a wildfire emergency.

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