How to Create a Wildfire Evacuation Plan

5 Wildfire Facts You Need to Know
August 3, 2021
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How to Create a Wildfire Evacuation Plan

Every year, wildfires force residents in California and throughout the United States to evacuate their homes and communities. For residents in fire-prone areas, it’s important to create an evacuation plan to ensure you and your family are able to remain safe. If evacuation becomes necessary, you’ll need to know where to go and what to bring to stay safe while the wildfire threat is present. To help you prepare for wildfire season, here’s how to create a wildfire evacuation plan.

Protect your home from wildfire by installing a Frontline Wildfire Defense exterior sprinkler system. For more information, contact us today for a free consultation.

Understanding Evacuation Alerts

Throughout wildfire season, it’s important to keep an eye out for alerts from authorities to understand whether or not evacuation is necessary. US residents can download the FEMA app to receive alerts from the National Weather Service or sign up for community alerts at Ready.gov.

In general, there are three common alerts relating to wildfire evacuation:

  • Shelter in place: Shelter in place means that you should take shelter where you are or at the nearest safe building. This is usually ordered when evacuation is either unnecessary or too dangerous.
  • Evacuation warning: An evacuation warning means that you should evacuate as soon as you can and that you have a little bit of time to gather supplies before leaving.
  • Evacuation order: An evacuation order means that you need to evacuate immediately without taking time to gather valuables or make any other preparations. Homeowners should follow evacuation orders carefully to avoid wildfire dangers.

Always adhere to instructions given to you by local authorities, and pay attention to these alerts to ensure you know what you need to do to stay safe during wildfire season.

Pre-Evacuation Preparation

You may not always have time to prepare once an evacuation has been ordered. If you live in an area that is frequently impacted by wildfires, it’s important to take steps to prepare in advance:

Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit

One of the most important steps to take in advance is to prepare an emergency supply kit to take with you if a wildfire evacuation is ordered. You should create an emergency kit for each person in your household and keep it in your car at another easily accessible place to ensure you can quickly access it if you need to evacuate.

Your emergency supply kit should include:

  • Face masks
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Evacuation map
  • Any necessary medications
  • At least three days’ worth of non-perishable food
  • Water
  • Extra clothes
  • Contact lenses and/or glasses
  • Car keys
  • Cash
  • Copies of important personal documents (birth certificates, IDs, passports, etc.)
  • Food and water for pets
  • Battery-powered radio for emergency communications

By preparing a supply kit in advance, you won’t have to worry about forgetting any essentials when packing your car for evacuation.

Fortify Your Home

To mitigate damages to your home, you should take steps to fortify your home against wildfires, including using fire-resistant materials when renovating or repairing your home and managing ignition zones around your home by removing flammable materials from the surrounding areas.

You should also consider installing a roof sprinkler system to help protect your home against fires. These systems proactively hydrate your home’s exterior to reduce the chances of ignition.

Creating a Wildfire Evacuation Plan

Creating a wildfire evaluation plan will ensure you and your family will know what to do if an evacuation is ordered. You need to know where to go, where to meet if you are separated, and what to bring.

Set an Emergency Meeting Location

Where will you and your family members meet if you are separated while evacuating?

Evacuations can be hectic, making it easy to accidentally get separated while on the move. Moreover, you and your family members might not all be at home when the evacuation is ordered, and there may not be time to rendezvous at home before leaving the area.

You should communicate with your family to establish an emergency meeting location in a safe area in case you are separated while evacuating. You should review evacuation routes and ensure everyone understands exactly where to go in case they need to evacuate on their own.

Pack Supplies

If you’ve already packed your emergency supply kit, that should be all you need to bring when you are evacuating. Your emergency kit should include all the essentials you’ll need to last for a few days while away from home, including a change of clothes, food, water, money, and personal documents. Make sure to put on the masks included in your kit to protect against smoke inhalation.

If time allows, you may also take the time to pack valuables, technology items, and personal items that are not included in your emergency supply kit. Pay close attention to the details given in the evacuation order. If the order indicates that you need to evacuate immediately, do not take extra time to pack non-essentials.

Prepare Your Home

If time allows, you should take time to prepare your home before evacuating. Make sure to close all doors, lock all windows, and unplug electrical equipment, including televisions, computers, and small appliances. If there is a risk of flood, you should also unplug your refrigerator and freezer. If instructed to do so, shut off water, gas, and electricity before evacuating.

Be sure to leave a note taped to the inside of a window that says when you left and where you are evacuating to.

Communications

Just in case, you should be sure to tell an out-of-area contact where you are going in case you are unable to be contacted. Update your location as often as possible to ensure someone knows where to find you.

Ensure your phones are charged, and make sure to bring chargers with you. If time allows, contact neighbors to ensure they are aware of the evacuation order and have a way to evacuate. Lastly, consider creating a list of emergency contact numbers to take with you during an evacuation.

Plan for Pets

As soon as an evacuation is ordered, place your pets in a cage or carrier to take with you. Make sure your pets have tags and are microchipped in case they are lost during the evacuation. Don’t forget to bring food and fresh water for your pets as well.

Returning Home After a Fire

When preparing to return home after a wildfire:

  • Never return until authorities have stated that it is safe to do so
  • Avoid burning debris, downed power lines, smoldering embers, and other hazards
  • Wear protective clothing, including masks and long sleeves, when cleaning your home
  • Take pictures and videos to document property damage
  • If you smell gas, open windows, leave your home, and contact your utility provider

When returning home after a wildfire, it’s important to exercise extreme caution and contact local authorities if you’re not sure whether or not it is safe to enter.

Protect Your Home from Wildfire

The Frontline Wildfire Defense exterior sprinkler system can protect your home from wildfire with:

  • Remote activation for 24/7 protection from anywhere
  • Built-in battery backup and satellite communication
  • Environmentally friendly, biodegradable Class A foam
  • Municipal, well, pool, and emergency water tank supply options
  • Wildfire tracking and remote system activation using the Frontline app

For more information on how Frontline Wildfire Defense can help safeguard your home, contact us today for a free consultation.