How to Prepare for Wildfires
A wildfire is an unplanned fire that burns in a natural area such as a forest, grassland, or prairie. They can destroy homes and cause injury or death to both humans and animals. There are many different causes for wildfires, but the most common are lightning strikes and human activity.
This year, wildfires are ravaging many areas, especially in California, and red-flag warnings have been issued from the Northwest into the Rockies. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, an estimated 649,054 acres have burned across 14 states and the wildfires are still spreading. This begs the question, do you know how to prepare for wildfires? Continue reading for safety tips from the CDC and Ready.gov.
Start Preparing Now
Listed below are the steps you should take to help you prepare for wildfire season:
- Sign up for your community’s emergency alert system, as well as national emergency alert systems such as The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio.
- Familiarize yourself with your area’s evacuation routes and make sure you have several different ways to leave.
- Make a plan that includes possible shelters and emergency services along your routes. If you have pets or livestock, make sure to have a plan for them as well.
- Have a go-bag with emergency supplies, including N95 respirator masks that filter out particles in the air you breathe. It is also a good idea to include GO-KOTs, sleeping bags, and/or sleeping pads in your go-bag as space could be limited in hotel rooms or at family and friends' homes. When packing, keep in mind each person’s specific needs as well as any supplies your pets may need.
- Keep all your important documents in a fireproof, safe place and as a back up, create password-protected digital copies.
- Review your insurance coverage to make sure it is enough to replace your property.
- Pay attention to the air quality and designate a room that can be closed off from outside air. Have a portable air cleaner you can set up to keep indoor pollution levels low when smoky conditions do exist.
- Keep track of the fires near your area and monitor their progression so you can be ready if you need to leave.
- If a wildfire warning is in effect for your area, leave as soon as you are told to do so.
Being prepared is key during wildfire season. You want to be aware of your surroundings, have an evacuation plan, and be ready to leave as soon as evacuation orders are given. This all ensures you have the best chance to get to safety.
Any delays could result in you getting trapped by the wildfire. If this does occur, call 9-1-1 immediately, just keep in mind that conditions may delay the rescue or make it impossible. Regardless, turn on any lights you have to help rescuers find you. For more information, visit the CDC and Ready.gov.
For those that are fighting the wildfires and keeping us save, we appreciate all the hard work you do for your communities! We would like to help support you in anyway we can. For individuals, please contact us for a first responders discount and for units and institutions we are on GSA Advantage!