A good time to think ahead about what you would do if your home or family came under the threat of wildfire is before it happens. All it takes is a dry, windy day and a small spark to start a wildfire. When conditions are like this, it’s rare that there is only one fire – which means that firefighting resources could become stretched and unable to respond to your home should it be threatened.
Create a wildfire action plan
Develop a wildfire action plan and go over it will all members of your household well in advance of a wildfire. Each family’s plan will be different, depending on a variety of issues, needs, and situations.
Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them, should the need arise. Check with hotels, motels and campgrounds to learn if they are open.
Evacuation Plan Checklist
Create an evacuation plan that includes:
- A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area.
- Several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
- Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
- A family communication plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.)
- Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family how to use them (check expiration dates regularly).
- Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
- Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for each person, as recommended by the American Red Cross.
- Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers posted near your phone and in your emergency supply kit.
- Keep an extra Emergency Supply Kit in your car in case you cannot get to your home because of fire or another emergency.
- Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire.
- Tell your neighbors about your Wildfire Action Plan.
Remember the Six “P’s”
Keep These Six “P’s” Ready in Case Immediate Evacuation Is Required:
- People and pets
- Papers, phone numbers, and important documents
- Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
- Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
- Personal computer hard drive and disks
- “Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash
Learn more at CAL FIRE – https://www.readyforwildfire.org.
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