Evacuation plans and gear
Staying Safe in the Face of Wildfires:
A Firefighter's Guide to Preparedness
We spoke with a firefighter regarding best practices to be prepared ahead of wildfires. The article below is the result of that interview.
As a firefighter, I have responded to many wildfires in extreme remote areas, as well as wildfires that threatened residential communities. Wildfires can spread rapidly, overwhelming resources, so being prepared ahead of time is critical to the preservation of life and property. Below are some recommended key steps you to take to prepare for wildfires:
Establish an evacuation plan: Having escape routes planned in advance can save lives, and must be part of your preparedness plan. Ensure the plan is practiced, and ensure there is a contingency plan in the event of separation of family members. Designate meeting places. Practice and rehearse the plan regularly. Having emergency supplies packed in advance will improve your chances of safety.
Prepare an emergency supply kit: Stock up on essential supplies like lightweight and easily prepared food, water, medications, a battery-powered radio, first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, cash, and emergency tools. Fresh air respirators will be an invaluable addition to your bag. Have important documents in a waterproof container.
Create defensible space: Clear brush and other vegetation around your home to create a buffer zone in advance, making it more difficult for fires to spread to your property. Clear dead plants and trim overhanging branches.
Evacuation readiness: When an evacuation order is issued, leave immediately. Local emergency authorities will direct you to the evacuation route. Stay calm and move quickly. Remember the fire drills from school?
Choose fire-resistant building materials: If ability and budget allow use materials like stucco, metal, brick, and tile for roofs and exteriors. Pay attention to your landscaping. Clear flammable materials like wood chips or mulch from around the base of structures.
Stay alert/Subscribe to state and local notification systems : Monitor your local news and emergency management websites and social media for updates on fire danger levels and any active wildfires in your area. Be ready to act quickly based on warnings.
Maintaining situational awareness and preparing in advance will help you and your loved ones stay safe during wildfire emergencies. Firefighters work hard to contain wildfires and assist with evacuations, but community members play an important role in preparedness. Take action now to prepare your home and family for potential wildfire threats. Stay safe! Get Prepped!