AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, blizzards, and earthquakes have granted Texas the title of the most disaster-prone state in the country, according to studies in recent reports.

This distinction has raised eyebrows and carried weight around the Lone Star State, especially as March 2023 marks the 17th anniversary of the deadly Panhandle wildfires of 2006 and the six-year anniversary of the devastating Panhandle wildfires of 2017.

With the end of La Niña expected to linger in some form until later in the summer, drought conditions slowly but steadily spreading, and outdoor burn bans active across much of the state, Texans are bracing for emergency situations in fire season alongside looking toward preparations for tornadoes in the coming months. For many, this can mean having plans and emergency kits prepared in case of an evacuation, and otherwise preparing at home for severe storms. has compiled a set of checklists and other tips for families to reference when preparing for wildfires, tornadoes, and other possible crises in the coming months.

Wildfire Emergency Supply Kits

According to references published by, emergency supply kits are best prepared before a wildfire or other disaster, and best kept easily accessible so that families can take them during short-notice evacuations. Families should plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, and each family member should have their own kit. While most of the kit supplies can be stored in containers like backpacks, food and water may be best stored in a tub or chest with wheels for easier transport.

Wildfire Emergency Supply Kit Checklist:

  • Face masks or coverings
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
  • Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
  • Prescriptions or special medications
  • Change of clothing
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
  • Pet food and water
  • Easily-carried valuables
  • Family photos and other irreplaceable items
  • Chargers for cellphones, laptops, and other devices

What to include in an evacuation plan:

  • A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area.
  • Several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
  • Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
  • Family Communication Plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation.
    • It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.

Further checklists and information on wildfire preparation and action before, during, and after a crisis situation can be found here. Altogether, when preparing for a wildfire situation, experts such as those with advised that families should remember the “Six P’s” of emergency evacuation preparedness:

  • People and pets
  • Papers, phone numbers, and important documents
  • Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
  • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
  • Personal computer hard drives and disks
  • “Plastic” – Credit cards, ATM cards, and cash

Not only are those six points important for wildfire and other disaster evacuation preparedness, but experts often advise that families keep them in mind for other emergency preparation as well.

Storm Shelter Emergency Supply Kits

While there are many similarities between wildfire and severe weather supply kits, as listed on and by experts with the American Red Cross, there are some differences in “Go-Kits” and “Stay-at-Home Kits” in the amount of supplies and the presence of some other items.

Storm Shelter and Severe Weather “Stay-at-Home” Checklist:

  • Face masks or coverings
  • At least a one-week supply of non-perishable food and at least three gallons of water per person
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and water
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Prescriptions or special medications
  • Changes of clothing for each person
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
  • First aid kit and non-prescription medications such as pain relievers and antacids
  • Flashlight
  • Whistle
  • Battery-powered radio, NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Sanitation supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Wrench or pliers
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
  • Easily-carried valuables
  • Family photos and other irreplaceable items
  • Chargers for cellphones, laptops, and other devices
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities

During a severe weather or tornado situation, experts advise that families move to their designated shelter-in-place location in the lowest, most-interior area of the building, stay away from windows and doors, and keep track of weather and situational updates.

After severe weather or other disasters, the Texas Division of Emergency Management has resources for those seeking assistance with recovery and response efforts on community and local scales. The TDEM website contains resources and information on disaster recovery, flooding, utilities, medical response, and other task forces ready for use.

For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.