Wildfires are unpredictable by nature, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself, your property, and your family from wildfire destruction. Here’s how to prepare for a wildfire.
What would you do if a wildfire broke out near you? Would you know where to evacuate? What you should bring? What to do before you left? Having a clear and thorough wildfire emergency plan can eliminate uncertainty and help keep you safe. Here’s what your wildfire emergency plan should include:
If a wildfire is threatening your home, it’s imperative that you have a clear and thorough evacuation plan. Make sure everyone in your house understands every aspect of the plan and that you’ve considered any pets or livestock that might need to be evacuated as well.
Your evacuation plan should include a designated meeting area outside of the fire or hazardous zone. Make sure you have several evacuation routes planned out, so that if a hazard blocks one route, you already have a secondary route to follow.
Decide on a friend or family member who lives outside of the danger zone who can be the point of communication in the event of separation. That you’re your contact can communicate between the separated parties, which can be more efficient, especially when communication systems like phone and internet are overwhelmed during an emergency.
An evacuation checklist ensures that you take care of the most important tasks before leaving. While these checklist items will help in the moment, there are certain disaster preparedness items you’ll need to organize before it is time to evacuate so that the process is as quick and smooth as possible.
Make sure you have working fire extinguishers to bring with you during evacuation. It’s also important to make sure that everyone in your family knows how to properly use the extinguishers and that they’re frequently checked, as fire extinguishers do have expiration dates.
Before you evacuate for the wildfire, make sure that the gas, electric, and water mains have been shut off. Because you never know who will be home during an evacuation, make sure the whole family knows where these are located and how to shut them off.
Whenever fire threats are high, make sure everyone in the family has a supply kit prepared that they can easily grab during an evacuation. Emergency supply kits should include non-perishable food, water, a map of the evacuation routes, a change of clothes, any prescription medications, eyeglasses and contact lenses, a first aid kit, a flashlight, cash or credit cards, and important documents (i.e. birth certificates, passports, etc.). If you have a pet, make sure at least one of the supply kits contains pet food and extra water.
If you’re evacuating early enough that you have time to spare, consider grabbing any valuables that are easily accessible in your home. These can include chargers, personal computers and laptops, prized family possessions, and other sentimental items that can’t be replaced. You might also consider buying a fireproof safe to store important documents in year-round, so that you don’t have to worry about these documents during an evacuation.
Want to protect your property in the event of a wildfire? Try creating a wildfire defensible space around your home. It’s also important to reach out to your local independent agent to help you determine the best ways to make sure your home is protected.
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