PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When the knock comes on your door that you need to evacuate because of a wildfire or other disaster, that’s not the time to begin making a plan and packing a bag.
Don’t wait until that Level 3 “Go Now” order comes to gather all the things you’ll need and want to throw in your car. It’s easy to forget essentials when you’re under such stress.
Clackamas County Emergency Manager Gregg Ramirez said the stuff for your emergency go-bag doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive.
“Just and old sweat suit, pants, couple pairs of t-shirts, underwear, sock and a pair of shoes, a comfortable pair of shoes,” Ramirez told KOIN 6 News. “I didn’t spend a lot of money. These are things that I had that I just wasn’t using.”
Inside his go-bag are basic toiletries, batteries, a flashlight, over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen.
“The things I didn’t have at home, I’ll be real honest with you, the majority I got from the dollar store,” he said.
Two of the most important things to remember, he said, are your prescription medications and copies of important documents such as insurance policies and banking information.
Ramirez said to pack enough to be self-sufficient for at least 3 days.
“72 hours gives the Red Cross enough time to get organized, enough time for service organization to set up their shelters in the community,” he told KOIN 6 News.
Don’t forget to add a cell phone charger or extra battery. But there is something else that might prove essential: a notebook with important phone numbers.
“I know 3 phone numbers in my memory,” he said. “I know mine, I know my mother’s and I know my wife’s. So if I’m separated from my cell phone I need my phone book.”
It’s one thing to have your go-bag ready. But you also need to have a plan on where to go.
“Shelters could take a day or two to really get spun up and accepting people, so making those connections with friends and family and be prepared to sleep on a couch might be necessary,” he said.
Your pets also need to be included in whatever plan you have. Sometimes evacuation shelters take pets, sometimes they don’t.
Make a go-bag for your pet — some food, water, an extra leash, a toy.
Ramirez also suggested microchipping your pet in case it gets lost. That microchip will make it easier and more likely your pet will be returned to you.