San Diego

Could You Evacuate a Wildfire in 5 Minutes?

Cal Fire has offered a list of recommended items to keep in a special evacuation bag

If you had just five minutes to flee a wildfire, would you be able to evacuate in time to get to safety?

With multiple wildfires raging across Northern California, many homeowners have had mere minutes to leave their house.

As fiery infernos spread, more residents are now considering what items they would grab if put in a similar emergency situation with just five minutes to decide what items they would save.

Lisa Leonard of Tierrasanta was put on the clock Thursday by NBC 7.

She raced through her two-story home, looking for her most cherished items. Leonard focused on sentimental items like photographs and the cremation ashes of her dogs.

She also grabbed important documents, including her insurance and trust information.

“I think what I’d probably do just going through this drill, is maybe do a Google search and try to get a little bit more prepared," said Leonard. "If you only have five minutes, what are mission critical important things?”

So how did Lisa stack up to what the experts said she should have taken in the event of an evacuation?

Here’s a detailed list of items recommended by Cal Fire:

  • Critical medications
  • Important papers, photos
  • Essential valuables
  • Pet and livestock food and transport
  • Change of clothing and toiletries
  • Cell phone
  • Critical papers and documents in fire-proof safe
  • Evacuation Route Map with at least two routes
For more information on how to safely plan ahead for disasters, visit
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