Emergency Evacuation Bags

I posted on my facebook page about the Waldo Canyon Fire that is threatening Colorado Springs and the surrounding towns. Our home is currently safe, but the conditions remain dangerous. As part of the Waldo Canyon fire, the nearby town of Manitou Springs was evacuated during the night. If you had to leave your house in the middle of the night, would you be ready to go? Until today, I would have been scrambling. And, at 1:30 AM, I can assure you, I am not at my best.

My first order of business was to put together a few bags that could easily be grabbed. These would have the items we would need if we had to vacate our home quickly and move into a shelter. I know many of you also live in natural disaster zones – hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados – if you have anything you’d add, please leave a comment!



I packed three bags. The first was a backpack I was given last year at Blogher, and the other two were bags my mom got as a free gift with purchase. They are kinda girlie, but they were free and readily available to pack.

The bags were divided into three categories: Consumables, Comfort, & Care.


Emergency Evacuation Consumables Bag

The idea is to try to have enough food for 72 hours. These supplies fall short, but would provide snacks in case we were stuck in traffic vacating town or if we needed to be in a shelter. The packed items include:

  • Protein Bars – (10)
  • Beef Jerky
  • Fruit Leathers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Tuna
  • Cereal
  • Ravioli
  • Pineapple Slices
  • Pet food & treats
  • Starbucks Via **Total comfort consumable**

You might notice I didn’t include water. What I chose to do was to put a case of water under our bags. These could easily be loaded into the car and would provide more water than what a bag could hold.


Emergency Evacuation Comfort Bag

I packed this bag with all the items that would make us more comfortable should we have to live in a shelter.ย  If we left without this bag, we’d be ok, but we wouldn’t be as comfortable. Items included are:

  • New underwear for all family members
  • Socks for each family member
  • Washcloths
  • Wipes
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss
  • Soap
  • Lotion
  • Comb
  • Kleenex
  • Eye drops
  • **Hair Ties & Ball Cap – personal addition. I’m thinking we won’t be paying much attention to our hair!
  • **Card Game – again, a personal item addition to try to make an ugly situation bearable.


Emergency Evacuation Care Bag

The idea behind the care bag is what would be REALLY need to take care of our family in a true survival situation. Packed items include:

  • Contact lens case & solution
  • OTC medications (if anyone in your family requires a prescription, you’d want to pack a 3 day supply.)
  • First aid kit
  • Sewing kit
  • Rain ponchos
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Scissors
  • Heavy duty trash bags
  • Sunscreen
  • Work gloves
  • Candles
  • Lighter
  • Can opener
  • **I included hand and toe warmers since we live in CO.

I now have the three Emergency Evacuation Bags hanging outside our garage door ready to grab and throw in the car.


I also have cases of water stashed below. Now, in the event of an evacuation, I know I will have the basic supplies ready to go!

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  1. This fire has made it a priority for our family to put together 72-hour bags as well, even though we are far enough away from the fire this time. I’m looking at ways to green it as well, such as creating a natural first aid & wellness kit. I like the natural & organic foods you picked. I’ve been trying to decide if I want canned food. I don’t want the BPA, but it’s the easiest to store and cook in an emergency. This might be one of those times I just ignore the BPA issue.

  2. If you have to evacuate, do you have a plan about taking any belongings with you, like pictures, computers, valuables, etc? One guy on news was told that he had 5 minutes to evacuate. That is not a lot of time, it sounds like just enough time to grab your evac. bags and your kids.

    Stay safe and good luck!

  3. How scary! Our prayers are with you and everyone in the area.

  4. Thank you Tiffany. It has been a devastating summer in our area. ๐Ÿ™

  5. Kristia, There is no way I could get out of my house without my laptop! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I do plan to box up precious belongings later this week. But if I just leave with my people and my pets, I’d consider myself blessed. Thanks for the good wishes, Andrea

  6. Danika, I did look for items that aren’t canned. It’s tough! I went with the ravioli because I knew the girls would like that. But I also found organic soup in tetra packs and the squeezable applesauce in pouches. The bonus is those are lighter than the cans. If you put together your natural kits, I’d love to replicate. I packed up a lot of stuff that I’ve received as free samples. Stay safe, and here’s hoping to a quick end to these fires, Andrea

  7. You are amazing & SO organized!! I would want you to be my mom if I had to evacuate!! Soooo prepared!!!
    I just cannot believe all the images I’ve seen of this fire. It’s devastating!! Our family is supposed to travel to Colorado Springs in exactly one week to stay with family out there. This fire cannot be put out soon enough!! We will continue to pray for Colorado!!! Hugs, Julie

  8. Thank you Julie! These fires are really scary. Being prepped makes me feel like I am doing something when I really feel like there is nothing I can do. Andrea

  9. Christina B. says:

    THis is a great idea but I couldn’t help but wonder how big your family was…We have a family of 10 Our bags would have to be huge or just a few more!!

  10. Hi Christina, I only have a family of 4, so yes, you would need a few more supplies! Your care bag could look very similar – can’t imagine you’d need more than one lighter for example, but your care and consumables would have to account for the extra family members. These fires have been so tough on our community, having just these few bags packed has made me feel like I am doing at least something to protect my family! Andrea

  11. Lisa Gene says:

    Thank you!!! I know it’s not on anyone’s “Most Wanted Christmas Gift” list but I’ve been looking for a practical (and inexpensive) way to build a 72-hr kit for all of my parents and siblings’ families, and this totally fits the bill. These, combined with a important paper binder, are going to make great Christmas gifts. We’re in Co as well and if nothing else these fires have taught us that there’s no such thing as being too prepared – having kits like these means you can spend you last 5 minutes gathering family photos, heirlooms, computers instead of packing the necessities. Thanks again – Lisa

  12. Lisa, I think an evacuation bag for Christmas would actually be really appreciated! I felt so much better having done something to prepare my family – even though we never had to use them. Thanks for leaving a comment – and let me know how the bags go! Andrea

  13. MamaNon says:

    I have thought about this too. Though I don’t live near the wildfires, a fire can strike anywhere. I have started scanning/uploading to a server our family photos, especially the irreplacable ones (my grandpartents and parents weddings, baby pics, etc. as well as family medical history and a few sentemental items from my children’s art work and my childhood. These will also be added to a portable container in an “quick-exit-friendly” part of my house. Your bags are a great addition to this. Thanks for the tips!

  14. MamaNon, You are so smart to be proactive in scanning pictures. I’ve just started to do that too. It’s easy to put off, but I’ve got renewed energy to get it done! Thanks for visiting, Andrea

  15. Hi Andrea,

    Thank you for linking up to The Mommy Club last week. This post was the #2 most clicked link last week! Congrats and thank you for sharing with us. How is it going? I hope you are all holding up.

    Stop on in and see your feature. I hope you share more of your wonderful ideas with us!


  16. I noticed contact lens solution and cases in your list. Can I suggest extra prescription glasses, if you have them? Even if they are an older pair with a slightly off prescription, they would do in a pinch.

    After Hurricane Ike, we were living on bottled water and were lucky to at least have a place with plumbing in which to stay while we cleaned up debris and rebuilt. However, the water that we bathed in was not suitable for drinking nor brushing our teeth. I wasn’t comfortable sticking my fingers in my eyes or touching my contacts, so I opted to live with wearing an older pair of glasses.

    Also, you might consider adding a pocket knife or a multi-tool and some hand sanitizer. The knife would help for self-defense, defense against wild animals, and food prep.

  17. Glasses are a great addition to the list – thank you for suggesting it. So is a pocket knife. I was sort of imaging more of what I would need should I be evacuating and heading to a shelter. But now that I’ve seen the clean-up efforts after the wildfire – it makes sense to have it. Thanks for commenting! Andrea

  18. Great post. I live in northern Nevada and fires could be an issue for us but less likely than other areas. We live with blm land behind us and lots of dry birch and it crossed my mind if we had to leave in a hurry besides the essentials what precious things might I grab. I need to update our 72 hour kits. This gives me inspiration.

  19. Nicole, I’m so glad this post inspired you! Our latest fires have taught me that being prepared is the very definition of better safe than sorry. Hope you enjoy your summer and fingers crossed no more fires! Andrea

  20. I think you’d want to make sure you have important papers/ IDs like passports, drivers licenses and maybe even birth and marriage certificates.

  21. Another great way to preserve photos is to upload them to an online site, then you can have multiple layers of protection for something you can’t replace if lost.

  22. Being prepared is less panic. Can I also add that instead of canned goods we can also buy foods in a foil pack, it’s not that keep in our bag and less space.. And we can also bring an extra survival bag in case someone needed it, in this way at least we can also help other people who is in need.


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