Sheriff's Office

Emergency Family Preparedness - Preparing for Possible Evacuation

Beginning last January, each monthly newsletter throughout 2012 will offer important information on how you can prepare for any emergency. This month we will cover how to prepare for a possible evacuation. When disasters or emergencies strike, such as the recent Caughlin and Washoe Fires, it could be unsafe for residents to remain in their homes. The amount of time you have to leave depends on the threat. Many disasters allow very little time to gather essentials, which is why planning ahead is important. For more information, go to

Plan to Stay with a Loved One if Possible: Know who you will stay with ahead of time. Consider which loved ones could assist you with your animals or special needs.

Research Motels or Hotels in Advance: Call local hotels and motels within your area. Check to see it they take pets in an emergency situation. Alert staff of any emergency medical care you might require when you check in. Check local news or contact 211 (this number is only activated in a declared emergency) to see if any local hotels offer discounts for evacuees.

Make Transportation Arrangements in Advance: Keep emergency kits and supplies in your car. If you don't have a car, ask friends and family if they can transport you during an evacuation. Make sure you have a backup plan in case your first choice is not possible. Develop a transportation plan for your animals.

Emergency Shelters: If staying with loved ones is not possible, may you need to go to an emergency shelter. Contact 211 or (775) 337-5800 if out of town (these numbers are only activated during a declared emergency) for information on where to go and to receive information regarding animal evacuations/shelters.

Stay Alert to Evacuation Orders Issued by Local Officials: If possible, evacuation orders will be broadcast on radio, television and on Washoe Sheriff's Twitter. Be alert for instructions and follow travel routes outlined by public safety authorities. Stay away from downed power lines.

If You Must Evacuate, Follow Important Steps: If possible tell an out-of-town contact person where you are going. If instructed to, have the water, electricity and gas turned off at the main switches in your home. Take a grab and go emergency kit (see February newsletter) which should include current medications, dentures, hearing aids, or other necessary items. Bring a change of clothes for every family member. Secure your home; close and lock doors and windows. And leave early enough to avoid being trapped.

If You Have Time: Decide which objects and keepsakes are most important to you in advance. Make a list of those cherished items and keep with important papers. When you're required to evacuate, all you have to do is check the list, grab those items and go.

Develop a Pet/Animal Evacuation Plan: In the event of a disaster and you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do for your pets is to evacuate them too. If you are away from home when your neighborhood is evacuated, you will not be allowed back to retrieve your pet, so make arrangements before disaster strikes.

  • Make sure your pets are current on their vaccinations
  • Keep a collar with identification and licensing on your pet and have a leash or lead on hand
  • If possible have a pet carrier or arrange transportation for each animal
  • Have a supply of food, water and any required medication. Have a copy of your animals' medical records in your go kit.

Click HERE for the evacuation checklist brochure.