Wildfires present a risk not only to homes and buildings but also to lives. To protect yourself from these disasters, always be prepared with multiple evacuation routes as well as emergency supplies.
STEP 1: BE AWARE
What is a wildfire? A wildfire is a type of fast-spreading, large fire in rural or forested areas. These fires are dangerous because they’re often made to high volumes of combustible vegetation.
What causes wildfires? Some examples of causes for wildfires include lightning, arson, discarded cigarettes, and spontaneous combustion.
When is wildfire season? The most common time for wildfires is the summer and fall when the vegetation is driest.
Fires are more likely to start in places where there are tons of open land, lots of vegetation around, and a drier climate. Places with these things will have fires more often than places without them.
The risk of fire is the highest in prolonged periods of hot & dry weather.
STEP 2: BE PREPARED
Have a plan for what to do if there is a fire in your home, workplace, or community? Make sure you have a clear understanding with your family and neighbors about what to do. The majority of fires happen at night when people are off work or sleeping at home, so be prepared.
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Insurance: Make sure to update your insurance policy and contact them if you live in a high-risk area. Many policies offer coverage for wildfires and this is something you should definitely take into consideration.
Plans: The safest thing that you can do is to have an evacuation plan in place for your family and all your animals. It’s important to keep in mind that wildfires are unpredictable. This means you’ll need to prepare multiple evacuation routes, including the essentials like sunscreen, water, medicine, etc.
- Contact information for:
- Family members
- Medical care providers
- Utility companies
- Any other relevant contact details
- Important documents:
- Birth certificates
- Insurance policies
- Social security cards
- Photos of your property
- Details of destination:
- Addresses of people you can stay with
- Maps that have at least two evacuation routes marked on them
- Location of local disaster center
- Hotels you may be able to stay at
- Contact information of access people
Before fire strikes, research any potential hazards in your area that could cause additional dangers if set alight. Check what building materials are in your neighborhood and find out if there are any factories or farms nearby.
Factories and farms may have hazardous materials onsite. Be aware of such hazards and plan your evacuation route accordingly.
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Pack an evacuation kit: It’s best to pack bags in your home and store them in an easy-to-access location. These bags should either be translated to the car if you need to leave at short notice or left in the home when fire approaches.
To make your evacuation kit, you might want to put in items such as:
- N95 masks – N95 masks are respirators that will filter out airborne particles and other substances. These masks fit closely to your face and should be worn in situations where there is a chance of harm.
- Changes of clothes
- Three days’ supply of clean, bottled water
- Keep three days’ worth of long-life or dry food supplies in case disaster strikes
- First aid kit
- Your evacuation/wildfire plan
- A portable radio
- Any pet supplies and carriers
- Mobile phone
Protect your home: To increase the chances of your property surviving a wildfire, there are some simple steps you can take.
The first steps you should take to protect your home is to remove anything in the vicinity that can be quickly turned into fuel for a fire, including wooden furniture and tree branches.
By setting boundaries around your property and creating a water source, you can protect your home from fires.
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