Wildfire season is heating up right now. Literally, there are fires blazing all over the west coast and preparing for these unexpected situations can be very challenging. Asking yourself the question, what can I do to prepare is important to understand how to react quickly.
Stay Connected and Informed
First, stay connected to local news reports, online systems like NOAA weather radio or sign up to receive texts or emails when weather patterns change in your area. Keep in mind power outages, so if you receive your information via television, try adding notifications to your mobile phone.
It will also be important to understand evacuation routes in case you are in a situation that requires evacuation. Some evacuation routes may not be the normal driving paths you are most familiar taking to and from your home, so get the appropriate information for your specific area.
Protect Your Family and Property
If you are near a fire area, make sure you can connect with your family to insure everyone is safe and you can get to each other easily. Making sure all phones numbers are in each other’s phones will help easily connect. Sharing an evacuation plan with the entire family from multiple locations will also be valuable. Establishing a central location to meet should an evacuation need to occur is also a great idea to connect with family.
Remember your pets. Pets can get very disturbed by fire situations and keeping them calm and taking them with you will be keep them safe. If you need leashes, carriers or other items for your pets, keep these items in a central location to grab on the way out.
Understanding what you own in your home. protecting certain barriers around your home, and keeping the home safe from minimal damage will help keep your home protected or at least give you awareness as to what was lost in case of fire damage. Some specific things you can do to protect your home is make sure your roof is Class A material that protects against fire, for instance in CA there are lots of tile roofs because wooden roofs will catch fire easily. Installing smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and potentially a sprinkler system can also make the difference between getting people to safety quickly and protecting more of the home. Keep landscaping clean and away from the home. Landscaping can catch fire quickly causing the fire to spread rapidly around the home and resulting in potentially more damage. Take photographs of what you own in your home in case you have to file a claim for damages.
Seriously, if you are in a fire situation and the local authorities suggest you evacuate for safety reasons …. DO IT! Losing the material things is not worth losing your life over. Get your family, grab your pets, jump in the car and just leave! Making sure the precious things in life are with you helps your re-prioritize.