Wildfire Tips - Creating an Emergency Plan

How to Prepare to Evacuate from a Wildfire

Evacuation plans for families with young children should include helping toddlers understand how to quickly respond in case of fire, and how adults can escape with babies. Prepare ahead of time by practicing your family’s fire escape plan, and what to do to be safe when there is a wildfire nearby.

It is important to talk to toddlers and small children at a level that they understand and that does not frighten. Here are a few resources that offer guides and tips for families with young children about fire safety and preparing for a disaster:

A Parent’s Guide to Fire Safety for Babies and Toddlers : The U.S. Fire Administration’s information site for parents and caregivers to help prevent fire death of young children.
Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies : Sesame Workshop campaign with tips, activities, and other easy tools to help the whole family prepare for emergencies.
Smokey Kids : U.S. Forest Service’s interactive Smokey Bear site with games, information and resources on how to prevent forest fires.

Preparing Seniors and Disabled Family Members.  Seniors and people with disabilities also need special consideration when preparing for a disaster. Below are several resources that help individuals and families with special needs plan and prepare for an event such as a wildfire.

Special Populations Fire-Safe Checklist : U.S. Fire Administration’s fire safety guide for individuals with special needs to help them protect themselves and their home from fire.
Disaster Preparedness for Senior by Seniors : The American Red Cross booklet designed by and for older adults to prepare them for a sudden emergency.
Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities : American Red Cross Disaster Services booklet with information and resources to help people with physical, visual, auditory, or cognitive disabilities design a personal disaster plan.
Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations : Inclusive Preparedness Center website with information and resources for emergency planning.
Office of Disability Employment Policy Emergency Preparedness: Resource site which lists several resources to assist individuals, organizations, and employers create emergency preparedness plans that take into account the needs of people with disabilities.


Put together your emergency supply kit long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate. Plan to be away from your home for an extended period of time. Each person should have a readily accessible emergency supply kit. Backpacks work great for storing these items (except food and water) and are quick to grab. Storing food and water in a tub or chest on wheels will make it easier to transport. Keep it light enough to be able to lift it into your car.

Emergency Supply Kit Checklist

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person.
  • Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
  • Prescriptions or special medications
  • Change of clothing
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
  • Don’t forget pet food and water!

Items to take if time allows:

  • Easily carried valuables
  • Family photos and other irreplaceable items
  • Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
  • Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.

Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.