Tips: What You Need in an Evacuation

Three things you can't leave home without.

Traffic Safety


DENVER (July 5, 2018) – As nine fires rage across the state, hundreds of Coloradans have had to evacuate their homes -- often with just a few minutes' notice. Disasters can strike without warning, which is why it's so important that all Coloradans prepare an emergency kit and check it twice a year. But if you haven't prepared a kit, and you are being evacuated, here's what you absolutely can't leave home without:

  • Documents : Hard copies or electronic records of important documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, social security cards, driver licenses, passports, insurance cards, medical documents, wills, medical directives, power of attorney paperwork, adoption records, and all important financial paperwork.  Make sure to bring documents you can use to establish proof of address -- such as a utility bill -- as you will likely need to provide proof in order to re-enter a restricted area after the disaster passes. Keep these documents in a portable, waterproof container. If most of your documents are stored online, make sure you remember the passwords. Don't forget the chargers for your phones and computers. 
  • Medication: Focus first on any life-critical prescription medication you might be taking.  To avoid mix-ups, keep medications in their original containers with their original labels and keep those containers in a zip-close bag or bags. Don't forget EpiPens and inhalers. If time allows, prepare a drug list of all of your medication. The list should include the drug name, strength, dosage form, and regimen. If you have a medication that requires refrigeration, keep it cool with ice packs in a cooler if possible. 
  • Cash: ATMs may not be accessible in an emergency, and stores may be unable to take credit cards due to power or system outages. At a minimum, try to assemble enough cash to keep your household going for three days -- budgeting for gas, food, and a potential motel stay. You should also take your checkbook and at least one credit -- not debit -- card with you in the event of big-ticket emergency purchases. 


Think Ahead: Emergency Kits

Even if you are not currently displaced, affected, or threatened by wildfire, now is an excellent time to prepare or check an emergency kit so that you're covered in the event of an emergency -- no matter where you live in Colorado. When preparing a home emergency kit, include the following:

  • Three-day supply of nonperishable food for each family member
  • Three-day supply of water for each person -- one gallon per person, per day
  • Multipurpose tool or can opener
  • Hand-crank or battery-powered radio that can tune into National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather updates
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Extra cash
  • Local maps
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Whistle
  • Dust masks, plastic sheeting, and duct tape
  • Moist towelettes
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties
  • Travel-size personal hygiene products, including toothbrush, toothpaste, and hand sanitizer
  • Clothing and bedding, including sleeping bags and pillows
  • Hard copies or electronic records of important documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, driver's licenses, passports, insurance cards and medical documents
  • Pet food and other items for your pets, such as litter boxes and leashes


The Department of Homeland Security has a comprehensive emergency kit checklist available at If you've already prepared an emergency kit, make sure everyone knows where it is stored and check it twice a year to replace out-of-date items. Since you don't know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work, and your vehicles. 

About AAA Colorado

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