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There are some ways families can prepare ahead of time in case they need to quickly, safely evacuate during an active wildfire.

Evacuating in the event of wildfire

Friday, September 7, 2018

Oklahomans know first-hand the devastation and destruction a wildfire can cause. Families in the path of dangerous blazes often leave or are ordered to evacuate their homes for safety reasons.

Here are a few ways families can prepare ahead of time in case they need to quickly, safely evacuate during an active wildfire. 

Listen to local weather and emergency reports. Current technology makes it easy to stay informed of weather conditions and emergency alerts. Sign up to receive local alerts and warnings on your phone or other devices.

Locate the emergency kit. Pull out the emergency kit and check to make sure all the basic items are there, including nonperishable food and water, flashlight and extra batteries and a first aid kit. Add any missing items or items in short supply, then store it in the vehicle.

“Be sure to include last-minute items such as medications or cell phone chargers,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

Gather family pets in one area. To speed up the evacuation, put family pets in one room ahead of time so you do not have to spend critical minutes trying to find them before leaving.

Be ready to go. If ordered to evacuate, families should do so as soon as possible.

“Don’t wait until the last minute to leave,” Peek said. “Delaying may mean getting caught in heavy traffic and glowing embers and other debris may make it hard to see where you’re going.”

Time permitting, make sure the car has a full tank of gas. Then, back the vehicle into the garage or park it in an open area facing the direction in which you plan to travel.

For more information on preparing for and recovering from emergencies, visit our Emergency Preparedness Resource Centers at or contact the nearest county OSU Cooperative Extension office at


Story by Leilana McKindra

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