Evacuation Checklist

During severe fire weather (Red Flag Warning), a fire is burning nearby, or an evacuation is anticipated, follow this checklist (if time permits) to give you and your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire. Read through it BEFORE a fire, to better understand your priorities and decision-making process when a fire strikes.


    • Monitor all available information sources – Nixle, social media (Facebook), local media (TV and radio), and 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 are 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 refrigerator or inside a front window.
    • Check on or call neighbors to alert them to prepare.


    • 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 Emergency “Go Bag” in your vehicle.


    • 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.


    • Locate your pets and place 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…
    • Learn more about evacuating large animals…


    • Place combustible outdoor items (patio furniture, toys, doormats, trash cans, etc.) in garage or move 30’ from structures (optional: place in a pool).
    • Shut off gas at the meter or propane tank; move small tanks at least 15’ 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 around outside of 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 house instead (only if time allows).
    • Back your car into 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.


    • 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: 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.

Resource credit: CAL FIRE and FIRESafe MARIN