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