Put Together a Wildfire Prep Kit

Dog pulling a suitcase with leash GIF
Delegate those responsibilities!

Streamline it! The less stuff you have to gather in the heat of the moment, the faster you can get out of the house. Have your emergency kit ready and waiting so you can get out ASAP in the event of a fire.

An evacuation prep kit looks a little different from the type of shelter at home kit you’d make for a disaster like an earthquake. It should be much smaller and lighter, given that you will likely be evacuating by car, with the most important items in luggage that you can carry if you must continue on foot.

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For an effective wildfire prep kit, remember the six “Ps” of preparedness:

  • People and pets. Obviously, don’t stuff your kids into a bag (although it would be easier), but make sure you don’t leave anyone behind, even your furry friends. Make sure your pets have carriers–these will make it easier to move between locations, whether you end up in a hotel, a home, or an emergency shelter.
  • Prescriptions. If anyone in your family takes prescription drugs or has any medical needs, remember to pack them in your emergency kit. You won’t remember to raid the medicine cabinet during a wildfire, so make sure everything is ready to go. Vitamins, eyeglasses, and hearing aids also fit into this category. It’s a great place to put your back up pair!
  • Papers. Documents like birth certificates and social security cards are difficult to replace if the originals are burned up. Include them in your emergency prep kit. A fire-proof folder is a great lightweight addition.
  • Personal needs. Anything that you need to survive a day outside the house: clothes, basic toiletries, emergency food, a small supply of water, first aid kit, back up devices, chargers, etc. should be in the kit. Keep spares of everything in your go-bag so you can grab it and get out. Pack light, but cover your bases.
  • Priceless items. Photo albums, mementos, external hard drives, and valuables that can’t be replaced should also make their way into your emergency prep kit. You can never get back your fond family memories, so bring some of them with you.
  • Plastic. You’ll need money after you evacuate for things like food and a hotel room, so pack an extra credit card or some cash for whatever happens next.

When building your kit, it’s important to remember that you’ll need to get all this stuff out of the house quickly. You’re not going on vacation. That extra pair of shoes to match your outfit doesn’t count as an emergency “personal need.” Pack light; go fast.

Packing for wildfire prep kit
This go-bag is an extreme example of packing light. Pack more than this, and maybe choose more practical shoes.

“BUT WHAT ABOUT MY OTHER SHOES!” Yes, we hear you. The beautiful shoe collections of the world are not necessarily lost. You can prep your home for better fire survival as well.

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.