Are you at risk for a hurricane, forest fire, flood, or other disaster that may require you to evacuate?
Then you need to how to evacuate and create an evacuation checklist so you can do so effectively and efficiently.
You do not want to leave this to the last minute. If you are prepared, you will stay calm, think more clearly, and take what is most important with you.
  How to evacuate without forgetting anything important | Prepare to evaucate | evacuation checklist


The thing about evacuation is that the amount of time you have to prepare to leave will depend on the hazard. With a hurricane, you may have a day or two. But with a house fire, you may only have seconds. Or you may have somewhere between those two extremes. Without an evacuation checklist, this can quickly become overwhelming.  Think about it:
Would your family be ready to evacuate if necessary?


  • What would you grab if you had a full day’s warning?
  • What would you grab if you had 30 minutes warning?
  • What if you had 10 minutes warning?
  • What if you only had moments?
  • Where will you go if only your home is affected?
  • Where will you go if only your immediate area is affected?
  • Where will you go if your area and hundreds of miles around are affected?
  • How will you gather all your family members?
  • Where will you gather all your family members?
  • How will you communicate with local and long-distance family members?


Note: If you have, or plan to purchase, the Prepare My Life Planner, Tami (the creator) walks you through all of this with detailed worksheets that stay right in your grab and go binder.



Create Your Evacuation Checklist

Having a pre-made evacuation checklist allows you to DO without THINKING when asked to evacuate.  It will help you avoid panic and overwhelm and ensure you won’t forget anything important.  Here is how to create one:

First, sit down with all the adults and teenage children in your home. Create a list of everything you’d want to take with you if you had a full day’s warning to evacuate and could do so in your car. Also, include things you may need to DO. Think about what you are preparing to evacuate FOR in these situations. Will you need a tent, or will you be going to your brother’s house in the next town over? Think about items that will help you take care of your family as well as sentimental items you would not want to lose if your home were destroyed.

Now, prioritize that list according to what is most important to you. Those things that are absolutely essential to grab or do should be at the top. Print your evacuation checklist, post it near your doors, and put one in your grab and go binder.

Next, move any items that you can (pictures, hard drives, extra keys, grab and go/important documents binder, water, books, tents, 72-hour kits, etc.) near an exit to make them easier to grab quickly.

Last, practice at least once to make sure you can get through everything on your evacuation checklist as quickly as possible and so you know how to fit everything in your car.  Make needed adjustments.  Then practice yearly.

We did this a few years ago, and it brings such peace of mind! We actually split our evacuation checklist into two: “Moments” and “Minutes or More” because we found our priorities were different depending on the time we had.

In addition, our prioritized list is split it between my husband and me. We each just start working down our list until we have to leave.

We’ve also assumed that if we had 10 minutes notice or more we would be able to leave in our van and would likely be able to get to a friend or family member’s home within a day or two. If we only had moments, it would be on foot.

Below are our lists. I’d love to hear your plans/suggestions!

Note – The links in this post are affiliate links meaning if you purchase after clicking on them, I will be given a small commission (at no additional cost to you).  Learn more here about how I am (and am not) compensated, and thank you for your support of me and my family!



Get girls’ shoes on

Get my shoes on

Grab purse and cell

Get grab and go binder

Get to a garage with girls

Get 72-hour kit on

Get outside with girls


Get boys’ shoes on

Get own shoes on

Grab wallet and cell

Grab external hard drive and camera

Get to a garage with boys

Get 72 hr kit on him and boys

Get outside with boys




My shoes on

Kids’ shoes on

Turn on a movie for kids IN VAN (on iPad)

Jackets and winter gear in a van (if winter time)

Grab and go binder, my purse, Nathan’s wallet, keys, cell phones, and chargers in a van

External hard drive and camera in the van

Extra flashlights (these are my favorite), solar generators, and other power out supplies in a van

Quick Meals and extra snack food in the van

A cooler filled with milk, cheese, fresh fruit and frozen water in the van

Kids’ pillows, blankies, and stuffed animals in the van

Extra clothes, diapers, and medicine in a van

Toys, coloring books, games, and crayons in van


Shoes on

Shut off gas and water to the house

Put 72-hour kits in the van

24 pack water bottles in a van

Family pictures/journal tub in a van

Kids keepsake boxes in a van

Family tent in a van (also heard good things about this one, but we don’t own it)

Butane Stove and quickfire stove in a van with butane and quickfire pucks

Firewood in van

Fishing gear in a van

Additional extra blankets in a van

Guitar in van

Favorite books in a van


You can create your own prioritized evacuation checklist on this form.

You can record your predetermined family meeting locations HERE.

A Few Notes

  • If the house is in full flames, we wouldn’t worry about ANYTHING on the list except ourselves and our children.
  • We keep our grab and go binder, camera and our (1 TB, but very small) external hard drive RIGHT by our garage door. We would walk right by them on our way out making it simple to grab them as we go.
  • We keep our 72-hour kits in our garage.
  • The reason for turning on a movie for the kids is to keep them out of the way/distracted while my husband and I run around like crazy people. Rolling on the floor laughing
  • We keep a pair of shoes near the garage AND front doors for all family members.
  • All our power out supplies are in one upstairs hall closet making it easy to find and grab things.
  • We keep one cooler, 24 pack water bottles, firewood, our family tent, fishing gear, and our butane stove, and quickfire stove in the garage.
  • We keep (all day every day) an emergency crank powered radio, a first aid kit, mini 72-hour kit, extra blankets, an emergency road kit, snacks, a current and 3-4-year-old family photo (for ID purposes) and small bills (money) in our van.
  • All of our family pictures are on our external hard drive, but we have some pictures of mine and my husband’s childhood that aren’t. (Remember the days of film??)  These, along with older written journals are all in a tub in our basement.
  • We also have a tub and file folder for each of our kids where we keep sentimental things for them when they get older.  These are also in our basement.
  • We did not list out scriptures separately as we have a copy of them on our iPads/phones.
  • You can find a list of what USED to be my Grab-and-Go binder here.  I’ve since started using the Prepare My Life Planner which is much better for so many reasons, but it isn’t free like the printable I provide in that post.  My free folder worked for me for a long time!


There you have it!  Now, go create your family’s evacuation checklist!


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How to evacuate without forgetting anything important | Prepare to evaucate | evacuation checklist