Every year we learn from wildfire survivors they wish they were more prepared because they only had minutes or just seconds to collect themselves and flee. If we learn anything from their experience it should be that everyone needs to be prepared and ready to evacuate in case of a wildfire. Optimally, you want to prepare before wildfire season begins so you and your family are ready to leave when an Evacuation Warning has been issued or if you feel increasingly unsafe before a warning has been issued. It is equally important to note that if an Evacuation Order has been issued, that is not the time to try to shield your home or begin preparing to leave. You must leave immediately; do not delay and put your safety and life at risk to gather documents, valuables, or other possessions.
Given that the Complex fires are becoming increasingly contained, this is an opportune window to prepare for the rest of the wildfire season. If an evacuation warning is issued because of new wildfires, you, your family, and pets will be ready to go. The 2 main components of an Evacuation Plan are having an Emergency Response Plan and an Emergency Kit per family member.
- Ensure teenage and adult family members are signed up for the emergency alert system, Nixle
- Check all smoke alarms are working properly now
- When a wildfire is passing through a neighborhood at night, electricity will likely be shut off and it will be dark. Keep a flashlight by your bedside
- Digitize important documents, even if it is just a photo and store on your phone and on a cloud service such as Google Drive
- If you place perishable food in your emergency kit, check the expiration dates!
- Livestock and pets need Emergency Kits too! Do not forget they also need food and water
The basics of an Emergency Response Plan include:
- Designate where the emergency kits will live and who is responsible for getting them
- Know 2 exit routes from your house in case 1 path is blocked by fire
- Learn how to manually open your garage door if you have a garage
- Know 2 exit routes from your neighborhood in case 1 path is blocked by fire, but if emergency personnel are on the scene, follow their directions
- Designate an out-of-town contact who can help relay messages back and forth. Dialing out of the local area codes is more likely to connect successfully during an emergency
- Have a designated neighborhood and an out-of-neighborhood meeting place in case you are not allowed to enter your neighborhood
- If you have livestock and/or pets, know which evacuation centers accept animals and have their trailer/carrier setup
The basics of an Emergency Kit include:
- 3-day supply of non-perishable food can be emergency rations or several protein/granola bars
- 3 gallons of water (8-16 fl. oz water bottles) for drinking and sanitation.
- A change of clothing or at least underwear
- Extra glasses and/or contact lenses
- Flashlight with extra batteries or at least 2 glow sticks
- Travel first aid kit (adults, not necessary to include a child’s emergency kit)
- Protective goggles and masks
- Phone charging wire and portable, charged battery
- Do not forget necessary prescription medicine, if you have the ability, contact your doctor for an emergency only 3-day supply
Being prepared, informed, and aware of ongoing wildfires in your area is the difference between life and death. There are many thorough resources available through Fema and CalFire about how to prepare for a wildfire and how to survive if you are caught in the path of wildfire. For the future, commit to practicing your emergency exit route at least once a year and ensuring all family members know the plan. To protect your home, you can create a 30-foot defensive zone free of vegetation and any combustible materials and keep your grass and weeds mowed during wildfire season.
At Dry Kings Restoration we hope everyone remains as safe as possible during the ongoing wildfire season and takes measure to prepare yourself. If you are unfortunately the victim of a wildfire and need fire damage and/or smoke and odor removal services, do not hesitate to contact us. We are ready to make you our priority so you can return home.