What to pack when evacuating for bushfires

Fire emergency packing checklist


This list will help you plan and be prepared.


In the heat of the moment it's easy to forget all the documents, medications and equipment you need to take with you in an emergency.

So it's important to stop and pack an emergency kit before the start of each fire season.

The bag should include what you'll need if you are away from home for awhile, if you get caught by fire on the road, and any documents or sentimental items you'll need if you lose your home.

All the respective state bush fire authorities are consist in their messaging for what to take with you, and in the need to prepare early.

It's a good idea to practice packing your car, not just to ensure you can do it quickly but also that everything fits - including leaving room for the pets.

This list will help you plan and be prepared for if the worst should happen this fire season:

Before bushfire season:

Pack an emergency kit with essential items (see rest of list) and keep it in a handy place.

Scan important documents and photos onto a USB stick/external drive (you can pack the hard copies if the need arises later).

First aid kit with manual. Check it is a full kit.

Buy a battery-operated radio, powerful torch and extra batteries.

Save important contact numbers in your mobile phone (a hard copy wouldn't go astray either). Include family, friends, doctors. Have a spare mobile phone that you keep fully charged for emergencies.

Set aside protective clothing (long sleeved shirt and pants made from natural material such as cotton or wool; broad-brimmed hat, sturdy footwear such as leather boots, woollen socks, goggles, strong gloves, and a P2 mask or handkerchief) for each member of the family. (Why is cotton and wool so important? Because synthetic fibres will melt or burn)

Put woollen blankets in your car in case you get caught on the road.

Mark your main routes, including backup routes and petrol stations, on hard copy maps.

Make arrangements with anyone you plan to visit or stay with when you leave early.

Talk to neighbours or nearby friends about ways you can help each other. Let them know if/when you leave.

Don't forget pets. Make sure your pet containers are in your emergency kit or packed in the car.

Before you leave, you should add:

Cash, ATM cards, credit cards

Medications, toiletries and sanitary supplies

ID or driver's licence

Special requirements for infants, elderly, injured, disabled

Mobile phone and charger, laptop (other electronic items or external hard drives you may need)

Combination pocket knife

Important documents (in a waterproof bag) such as:

  • insurance policies,
  • birth certificates,
  • marriage certificates,
  • medical documentation, prescriptions
  • property titles,
  • financial documents,
  • qualifications,
  • wills,
  • passports

Change of clothes for everyone

Drinking water (at least three litres per person per day)

If there is time and space pack jewellery and any sentimental items.


For your pets don't forget:

Baskets or cages




Drinking water

Beds and treats that remind them of home and might help to keep them calm.

More information