Summer Wildfire SeasonSustainability Green Knowledge
4 Tips to Prepare for Wildfire Season
Natural wildfires pre-date humans and can be both good and bad for the environment. On the plus side, wildfires clean the forest floor, provide better habitat for animals, kill disease and promote new generations of plants and animals. On the negative side, large wildfires can cause mass destruction of ecology, forests and structures, as well as loss of human life.1
If you're planning a summer trip, you’ll need to prepare for the possibility of wildfires. Wildfires can spread very quickly and be difficult to contain. But there are a few things you can do to prepare and to keep you and your family safe.
Here are four tips you can use to be ready in case you’re affected by wildfires.
Have a Wildfire Action Plan
One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself and your family for a wildfire is to create a wildfire action plan ahead of time. Every family’s plan will look a little different, but all of them should include:
- A designated meeting location outside of the hazardous area. Should you and your family need to evacuate separately, having a designated meeting place will help keep everyone accounted for. It will also help emergency personnel to know who has safely evacuated the area, or if someone might be stuck in the affected area.1
- Several different escape routes from your home and community. Make sure everyone in your family is familiar with these routes and that you can navigate them in an emergency.1
- Create an action plan for any pets or livestock on the property. You’ll want to make sure you have the equipment, food, and water necessary to evacuate any of your furry friends.1
- A point of contact who can be a single source of communication if something happens or someone gets separated. Ideally, this point of contact person is out of the area, so they can serve as the single communicator to help keep everyone safe.1
In addition to having a wildfire action plan, you should make sure your home is fully equipped with fire extinguishers and that everyone knows where to find the shut-off controls for the gas, electric, and water.1
Keep Track of Current Wildfire Conditions
Thanks to today’s technology and social media platforms, it’s easier than ever to track the movement of wildfires to help you stay informed.
You can track wildfires using the Google Maps app on your phone. There are many layers you can add, and wildfires are one of them. With this filter, you can see all the wildfires in your area and how big they are. To access this layer, click on the button on the top right of the map below the search bar that has a diamond logo layered over another diamond.1
Digitize All Important Documents
Another smart thing to do when preparing for wildfire season is to make digital copies of all your important documents. This includes financial statements, birth certificates, mortgage paperwork, and any other documents that are difficult to replace. You can scan these into your computer or use your phone to make digital copies. Digitizing these documents will make it easier to access important information if something were to happen to your home.1
Prepare Your Emergency Supply Kit
Put together an emergency supplies kit for everyone in your family and keep them easily accessible. Your kits will vary depending on your needs, but here are some general things that Cal Fire suggests you include:
- Face masks or coverings (respiratory masks like N95 and KN95 masks provide the best protection from the small particles in wildfire smoke)
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
- A map marked with at least two evacuation routes
- Prescription drugs or special medications
- A change of clothing
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash, or traveler’s checks
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Sanitary supplies
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Pet food and water1
Medications are especially important to have on hand. You may be able to get a prescription for an emergency inhaler or other prescriptions to add to your kit, so you don’t have to worry about keeping your daily medication in your kit.1
It’s best to be prepared for a wildfire even before you need to be. By taking just a few precautions ahead of time, you’ll be ready, regardless of what Mother Nature throws at you.
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