Wildfire Evacuation Checklist

Be prepared! Every Firewise action we take to create a defensible space around our homes and ensure the fire truck has a way to get in and out of our properties makes it safer for our first responders and firemen. Make sure you are on the CVFD evacuation contact list. In the event of a wildfire, evacuate immediately when you are asked to do so. Remember, there is nothing you own worth your life! Remember the 4Ps for evacuation: people, pets, prescriptions, papers. Have an evacuation pack always at the ready that contains some core items that are refreshed from time to time, with a checklist to remind you what else to throw in if you receive a notice about a possible evacuation.

THINGS TO CONSIDER IN ADVANCE
  • Make sure your CVFD evacuation contact information is up to date.
  • Make sure the way to get in and out of your property is kept clear.
  • Familiarize yourself with the main or alternative evacuation routes to the marshaling area (in between the Carson Cafe and CVFD).
  • Have a plan with your family for whether some members will be evacuated in advance.
  • Have a plan for what you will do with your pets (eg put in pet carrier or on leash) and livestock (eg move to an area where they can be easily loaded onto a trailer), and whether you can evacuate them in advance and where.
  • Check your vehicles to make sure they will start. If you do not have your own transport for yourself or your animals, let CVFD know. 
  • Keep your cell phone and computer charged to receive emergency notifications.
  • Familiarize yourself with the steps you will take, IF there is time, to prepare your house for a wildfire before you evacuate.
BASIC EVACUATION PACK
  • Financial (bank, IRS, trust, investment, mortgage, insurance policy) and personal (birth certificates, social security cards, wills, medical records) documents
  • Printed or video inventory of home contents
  • Photographs of house exterior and landscape
  • Medications, prescription glasses
  • ATM, credit and debit cards, or some cash
  • Driver’s license, passport
  • Address book or a list of important contacts
  • Cell phone charger
  • Computer backup files
  • Irreplaceable items eg family heirlooms, photo albums
  • Water and food for 1–2 days (snack bars or canned food plus can opener)
  • Personal toiletries and clothing for 1–2 days

The National Fire Protection Association (that runs the Firewise USA® programme of which Carson is part) provides a more comprehensive downloadable checklist.

PREPARING TO EVACUATE
  • Wear cotton or wool clothes (long pants, long-sleeved shirt), jacket, hat, boots, goggles, and gloves, and carry a handkerchief or scarf to cover your face.
  • Keep with you: cell phone, flashlight, portable radio tuned to a local radio station for updates.
  • Position your vehicle on your driveway facing out, with keys in ignition and windows rolled up.
  • Load your evacuation pack in the vehicle.

Below are steps to take ONLY IF you have enough time to safely do so before you evacuate.

PREPARING THE HOUSE INTERIOR
  • Turn off all pilot lights.
  • Close fireplace damper.
  • Close all interior doors.
  • Leave a light on in each room.
  • Remove lightweight, non-fire-resistant curtains and other combustible materials from around windows.
  • Close fire-resistant drapes, shutters, and blinds.
  • Move overstuffed furniture (couches, easy chairs) to center of room.
  • Close or block off any pet-doors.
PREPARING THE OUTSIDE
  • Shut off propane at the tank.
  • Turn on outside lights.
  • Leave exterior doors and gates unlocked.
  • Close exterior vents, doors, and windows.
  • Prop noncombustible ladders against the house for firefighters.
  • Store combustible patio furniture in the house, barn, or garage.
  • Connect garden hoses to faucets with nozzles set to “spray”.
  • Fill trash cans and buckets with water for firefighters.
  • Cover windows, attic openings, and vents with minimum half-inch thick plywood if available.

If there is a wildfire in your vicinity, it will likely be dark, smoky, windy, and hot. There may be airborne burning embers, no power, no telephone service, and poor water pressure. Be prepared to evacuate immediately when asked by firefighters and law enforcement officials.

This above guidle is adapted from a basic checklist prepared by University of Nevada, Reno Extension, with partial funding from a Community Fire Assistance Agreement with the Bureau of Land Management – Nevada State Office.

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