California’s devastating wildfires often create very hazardous conditions for local residents. Even if the fires themselves are not expected to hit your area, the resulting smoke and air pollutants are often enough to force evacuations. Unfortunately, many California residents are not properly prepared to face an evacuation order, making an already stressful situation even more difficult.
By preparing an evacuation plan ahead of time, California residents can gain peace of mind, protect their home from potential wildfire damages, and ensure they don’t leave anything important behind. Here’s a fire evacuation checklist and resources to help you prepare for evacuation.
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If a wildfire evacuation has been ordered, evacuate immediately. While some evacuation orders may be listed as voluntary and others mandatory, treat all evacuation orders seriously, evacuating for your safety. Pay attention to local notices and heed official orders from law enforcement. Evacuating as early as possible can help to ensure your safety while clearing pathways for firefighters on the roads.
Track fire activity with the Frontline Wildfire Map & Tracker.
The time to start preparing is before there is an emergency. Waiting until a wildfire evacuation order has been placed and the fires are nearing your home will only result in a panicked evacuation in which you are likely to leave behind important items and documents. Follow these steps to prepare yourself, your home, and your family for a potential wildfire evacuation order:
When a fire evacuation order is placed, time is of the essence. Creating an evacuation plan will ensure you and your family know what to do once it’s time to leave so that you can get to safety as quickly as possible.
An effective wildfire evacuation plan should include a meeting place in a safe area. While you and your family will ideally evacuate together, it’s common for people to become separated in emergency situations, so make sure everyone knows where to go and how to get there in case of emergency.
Check your city or county website for official evacuation routes. You should plan and practice multiple escape routes to prepare for evacuation. Whether there is traffic or fires have made certain routes unsafe, it’s important to have multiple routes in mind in case your first option is not available.
In severe circumstances, you might not have time to pack before leaving, making it necessary to have an emergency supply kit. Ideally, each member of your family should have an emergency kit that includes the following items:
Typically, evacuation orders are given early to allow residents plenty of time to pack and react. However, if you do have to just pick up and go, having an emergency supply kit at the ready will make the evacuation process much easier and less stressful.
An active evacuation is not the time to have car troubles. If you’re anticipating an evacuation order, be sure to fill your car with gas, take it in for a routine inspection, and check your tires for air and tread. Make sure your emergency kit is packed in your car, and park your car in the driveway facing the road so that you can jump in and go when necessary.
If you do not drive or don’t own a car, make other arrangements ahead of time. Consider asking a neighbor in advance if they are willing to take you with them when they evacuate.
If you return to a home that has been damaged by a wildfire, you’ll need to file an insurance claim to cover the damages. To back up your claim, you may need photos of everything you claim to have lost.
Of course, you won’t have time to do this during an active evacuation. Just be sure to take detailed photos of the interior and exterior of your home, as well as all of your most important and valuable possessions.
Once a wildfire evacuation order is placed, it’s important to act quickly and calmly to get yourself and your family to safety without any hiccups.
After evacuating and reaching a safe location, there are a few more things you can do to prepare for the aftermath of the wildfires:
The Frontline Wildfire Defense exterior sprinkler system can protect your home from wildfire with:
For more information on how Frontline Wildfire Defense can help safeguard your home, contact us today for a free consultation.