evacuation preparation

If you are forced to evacuate your home you probably won’t have time to gather up important documents or even time to think about what you want to bring with you. You may have the originals of some or all of the documents listed below stored in a safety deposit box at a bank, but it is a good idea to have copies in your evac-pack nonetheless.

Take the time now to make copies of essential documents and place them in your waterproof packet so that you can take them with you. Since your evac-pack will contain documents it should be placed in a waterproof, sealed container.



Naturally, you will want to have your driver’s license or other personal identification with you. If you have children or others who do not drive, obtain identification cards (usually available through your state Dept of licensing) and keep a copy with your evac-pack.


Keys, Phone and Money

Keep an extra set of keys to your car and home in your evac-pack. A fully charged cell phone is a must in the event of an evacuation. A pre-paid phone may be a good idea depending on the timing of the evacuation and the nature of the disaster. You may also want to have a credit card that you will use only in the event of emergency. You will want to remove all credit cards from your home and take them with you. You definitely will want to have some cash and coins.


Emergency Contacts/Shelters

Make a list of emergency contact names and phone numbers. Make sure you include at least one out-of-state contact person; it would not be very helpful if all of your emergency contacts are also affected by the same disaster. Someone outside of the affected area may better be able to coordinate efforts to reunite you with loved ones if you are separated, and can let other concerned friends and relatives know your status and location.

Before an evacuation it is a good idea to know the location and phone number of area shelters and whether they can accomodate pets or other special needs.

If you have pets and your local shelter does not allow pets it is important to find out the address and phone number of emergency animal shelters in your area. See our Pets page for more important information on preparing for a disaster if you have pets.

Must-Have Items for your Evac-Pack:

  • Identification for all members of your party.
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys.
  • Cell phone.
  • Credit cards.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Emergency contact list and phone numbers (include the phone number of at least one out-of-state contact person)
  • Addresses and phone numbers of places you could go for shelter.
  • Address and phone number of emergency animal shelters (if local emergency evacuation shelters do not allow pets)
  • Map of the area.


List of Essential Documents to Copy and Include:

  • Birth certificates.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Driver’s licenses/identification cards.
  • Social Security cards.
  • Passports.
  • Wills.
  • Deeds to Property.
  • Inventory of household goods.
  • Vehicle title and registration.
  • Insurance papers.
  • Important medical records (prescriptions, allergy information, immunization records, etc.)
  • Bank and credit card account numbers.
  • Stocks and bonds.
  • Vaccination and license records for pets.


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Below is the video “evacuation preparation“: