There are no easy answers for when, or if, to evacuate when wildfire threatens, but NFPA is providing people in fire-prone areas with important information on how to be prepared
NFPA Journal®, October 2011
By Stephanie Schorow
As fire bears down on the house with a roar, the couple inside makes last-minute checks. They have prepared their home and outbuildings with the latest fire-resistant materials, including replacing wooden shingles with asphalt shingles. They also removed trees and bushes near the buildings, cleaned the gutters, and covered the attic vent to their home with wire screen to prevent wind-blown embers from entering their home. They believe they can withstand the rush of the fire front, and that they’ll be able to move quickly with a hose or brooms to put out smoldering embers that could ignite and burn their home or other structures, even hours after the fire front passes.
Miles away, another couple is settling in at a friend’s house. They, too, had thoroughly prepared their home and property for a possible wildland fire, but they also readied themselves and their children to leave as soon as the local sheriff called for an evacuation. When the call for evacuation came, they immediately began loading their car with a prepared emergency supply kit, important documents and food supplies. They had two possible routes in mind to get to their friend’s house in a nearby city. They were on the road in less than 20 minutes.