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Evacuation Checklist

When fire weather is severe (i.e. a Red Flag Warning has been issued), a fire is burning nearby, or an evacuation is anticipated, follow this checklist (if time allows) to give you and your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

Download our printable Evacuation Checklist & Family Communication Plan. Print a copy for every family member and fill it out in advance. Review it ahead of time to better understand your priorities and decision-making process when a fire strikes.

In General

  • Monitor all available information sources: Alert Marin, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Next Door), and local TV and radio. Use your senses to be aware of the situation outside.
  • Monitor local news and radio stations for fire information.
  • Alert your neighbors to heightened risk on Red Flag Days, or when a fire is burning nearby, especially if they have children, or are elderly or disabled.


  • Ensure your cell phone is fully charged.
  • Notify an out-of-area contact of your phone number, location, and status. Update regularly.
  • Leave a note with your contact info and out-of-area contact taped to the refrigerator or inside a front window.
  • Check on or call neighbors to alert them to prepare.

On Your Person

  • Dress all family members in long sleeves and long pants; heavy cotton or wool is best, no matter how hot it is.
  • Wear full-coverage goggles, leather gloves, head protection.
  • Cover faces with a dry cotton or wool bandanna or scarf over an N95 respirator.
  • Carry a headlamp and flashlight (even during the day).
  • Carry car keys, wallet, ID, cell phone, and spare battery.
  • Drink plenty of water, and stay hydrated.
  • Put your evacuation go-kit in your vehicle.

Inside the House

  • Shut all windows and doors (interior, too) and leave them unlocked.
  • Remove combustible window shades and lightweight curtains; close metal shutters.
  • Move furniture to the center of the room, away from windows.
  • Leave indoor and outdoor lights on for firefighters.
  • Shut off HVAC and ceiling fans.

Pets & Animals

  • Locate your pets and place them in carriers NOW.  You won’t be able to catch them when the fire approaches. 
  • Be sure your pets wear tags and are registered with microchips.
  • Place carriers (with your pets in them) near the front door with fresh water and extra food.
  • Prepare horses and large animals for transport and consider moving them to a safe location early, before evacuation is ordered.

Learn more about evacuating pets and large animals.

Outside & In the Neighborhood

  • Place combustible outdoor items (patio furniture, toys, doormats, trash cans, etc.) in the garage or move 30 feet from structures (optional: place in a pool).
  • Shut off gas at the meter or propane tank; move small tanks at least 15 feet away from combustibles.
  • Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Attach squeeze-grip nozzles if you have them. 
  • Fill water buckets and place them around the outside of the house, especially near decks and fences.
  • Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running – they are ineffective and can reduce critical water pressure needed by firefighters. 
  • Hosing your roof down is dangerous and ineffective. Clean your gutters and blow leaves away from the house instead (only if time allows).
  • Back your car into the driveway, loaded, with doors and windows closed.
  • Unlock and prop open fence and side gates.
  • Place ladder(s) at the corner(s) of structures for firefighters.
  • Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or metal covers (even duct tape will protect from ember entry) if time allows.
  • Patrol your property and monitor conditions. Leave if spot fires ignite or conditions change.

When You Leave

  • Leave immediately if ordered.
  • Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel unsafe or conditions change; leave early if unsure. 
  • Assist elderly or disabled neighbors. 
  • Carpool to reduce traffic. 
  • Take only essential vehicles with adequate fuel.
  • In your car, turn on headlights, close windows, turn on inside air and AC, tune to local radio.
  • Drive slowly and defensively; be observant.
  • The best evacuation route is usually the one you know best. Take the fastest paved route to a valley floor, away from the fire if possible. Avoid fire roads.
  • Evacuate on foot only as a last resort.
  • You are better protected inside a vehicle or building.
  • If roads are impassable or you are trapped do the following: take shelter inside a car, building, or an open area; park in an outside turn if trapped on a hillside; stay far from vegetation; look for wide roads, parking lots, playing fields, etc.
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