As mentioned in a previous post, an evacuation checklist is an important part of every home’s emergency plan.
It will save you precious and possibly even life-saving time if you’re caught in an emergency and need to leave. The checklist, also called a Grab It & Go list, should itemize each item you need to gather and where in your home it’s located so you can streamline getting everything together in minutes.
Create your evacuation checklist with Google docs or any word processing software and print it out, keeping it in an easily accessible and visible location so you can immediately access it if needed. A bulletin board in the kitchen or front door is one option, while a console drawer in the entryway is another.
Periodically review and update your checklist to make sure it still meets your needs. For example, if the composition of your household changes, your list should reflect that. A home with children has different requirements than an all-adult one.
Make sure to include these items on your list, along with their location:
- Mobile phone
- Phone charger
- Portable phone charge
- Drivers license or other government-issued identification
- Car keys
- House keys
- Cash (enough for a few days)
- Credit card
- Flashlight batteries
- Prescription medication
- Over the counter medication you regularly need
- Feminine hygiene products
- First aid kit
- Laptop power cord
- Birth certificate
- Social security card
- Important medical records
- Health insurance card
- Deed to your house
- Homeowners or renters insurance card
- Paper copy of emergency contact names and phone numbers
- Water and food for 3-5 days
- Diapers, if very young children are in the home
- A pet go bag, if companion animals are in the home
Some of these items may seem simplistically obvious, but in times of stress and urgency, the ability to think clearly and calmly is harder, which can lead to oversights or mistakes. Having a checklist to follow takes the guesswork out of what needs to be done.