'Don't wait, don't hesitate': Contra Costa Co. fire officials urge residents to pack evacuation kits

PITTSBURG, Calif. (KGO) -- The Contra Costa Fire Protection District is urging people to start packing bags in case a wildfire forces an evacuation. According to Noell Crosse, the district's education coordinator, packing basic essentials can make a big difference.

"Just start putting a few things in there," she said. "Even if you do a couple things a day, you are that much more prepared to evacuate during a fire or any other emergency."

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Those essentials can include a change of clothes like new pants, shirts and socks. Crosse also says to keep copies of identification cards, insurance documents and vaccination records -- especially now the card for a COVID-19 vaccination. Those copies can also be kept on a phone or tablet, but she says to make sure those devices are charged.

"If you are going to keep it on an electronic device, please make sure you have back up batteries or chargers," she said. "If those devices die then you will have nothing."

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As residents return to see what remains, there are some very specific safety precautions to keep in mind.

If you have extra time, you can pack other items like food and water. Crosse says you can also pack a deck or cards or other games. However, if an evacuation to the level of the Cache Fire breaks out, having a bag of just the basic essential items can go a long way.

"Don't wait, don't hesitate," she said. "You don't need to go out and buy a $300 evacuation kit, but don't wait."

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