On December 3rd, 2017, Southern California erupted into an inferno as more than four fires ravaged the area. Intense hurricane force Santa Ana winds were the culprit. The Rye Fire, Creek Fire, Thomas Fire, Little Mountain Fire, and Skirball Fire engulfed the surrounding Los Angeles areas.

Our office was evacuated because of the Rye Fire, which was burning on the hillside two office buildings away from ours. The government has an evacuation plan website called ready.gov with information for families, but most people aren’t ready for a disaster.

We had to decide what to bring with us. Because we’re technology consultants, we’re going to show you our Natural Disaster Emergency Evacuation Technology Checklist. Here is the technology we grab in case of an emergency evacuation.

Pictures we took during the evacuation

1. Cell Phone, Charger, and Charging Cable

This is arguably the most important thing you can grab during an emergency. Your cell phone allows you to communicate with family, friends, and emergency officials. Most modern phones have GPS and a built-in LED flashlight, so they’re a convenient device to carry. If you don’t have time to grab your charger, put your phone on power saving mode and use it as little as possible. I keep a car charger and cable in my car just in case.

2. Portable Battery Pack

In our situation, power was out in several business and residential blocks of the city. You never know how long it will be until power is restored. Puerto Rico has been largely without power since hurricane Maria hit in September of 2017. A quality battery pack will allow you to charge cell phones, flash lights, or other safety devices when their batteries fail. We recommend a more robust battery pack with USB charging ports and a 120V AC outlet, like this Portable Battery Pack. You can charge small electronic devices as well as a laptop or temporarily power small medical equipment. 

3. External Hard Drive Backup

Some people have only seconds to evacuate their home or office, so they have to pack light. Everyone should be backing up their sensitive data, such as family pictures and legal documents, to an external hard drive. During an emergency, it’s easier and safer to grab the hard drive than it is to grab your laptop or desktop computer.

So I’m extra secure, I store my external backup drive in a fireproof safe. Then, I upload my sensitive data in the cloud so I’m triple protected. Google Drive and Dropbox are a few great services that offer free storage space for your most sensitive data. If you need more storage space, they have cheap alternatives as well.

4. Laptop Computer (But Not Desktop)

Most laptop computers are light and easy to carry. If your backup hard drive and laptop computer are synced, meaning the data is the same on both, then you decide which one is more important to you. However, do not attempt to unplug and carry your desktop computer. In an emergency, you risk hurting yourself or others trying to carry these large devices. Hardware can be replaced, you can’t be.


What do you think of our Natural Disaster Emergency Evacuation Technology Checklist? Let us know what you have on your emergency evacuation checklist in the comments below. 

This is only a technology checklist so be sure to pack food, medications, clothing, and other necessities. We found a great essentials checklist from HouseLogic.

As a technology company, one of our goals is to make sure all of our clients have systems in place to protect their sensitive business data from natural disasters, power outages, and data loss. This could be anything from hard drive backups to cloud storage to redundant server arrays. We have found that G Suite and Google Drive is a great one-two punch for email and file backup. Contact us today to see how we can protect your business data.