Here we are in the fourth week of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month campaign! Have you participated in any safety preparedness activities recently? If you have, that’s great news; if not, there’s still time to put together a plan. Consider this week’s theme: (How to) Practice for an Emergency.
All of us hope that we will never have to experience an emergency situation in our area, but in the event we do, it’s important to know the actions to take, and how you would work together with family members, friends and neighbors to stay safe.
During a wildfire, local officials and relief workers cannot always reach everyone immediately. Help may not arrive for hours or days, and if you are evacuated, you may need to find alternative housing including staying with family members, friends or even in a shelter. You and your family (don’t forget your pets!) need to be prepared ahead of time because you won't have time to shop or search for supplies when a disaster strikes. Having a plan in place can go a long way to keeping you safe, secure and comfortable no matter where you may need to stay.
Here are some things to consider before a wildfire strikes your area:
- Assemble an emergency supply kit and place it in a safe spot. Remember to include important documents, medications and personal identification.
- Develop an emergency evacuation plan and practice it with everyone in your home.
- Plan two ways out of your neighborhood and designate a meeting place, especially if everyone is not at home during the evacuation notice.
When a wildfire threatens your area:
- First and foremost, stay aware of the latest news and updates from your local media and fire department. Get your family, home and pets prepared to evacuate.
- Place your emergency supply kit and other valuables in your vehicle.
- Move patio or deck furniture, cushions, door mats and potted plants in wooden containers either indoors or as far away from the home, shed and garage as possible.
- Close and protect your home’s openings, including attic and basement doors and vents, windows, garage doors and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home.
- Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Firefighters have been known to use the hoses to put out fires on rooftops.
It can’t be said enough that you should leave as early as possible before you’re told to evacuate, and do not linger once evacuation orders have been given. Promptly leaving your home and neighborhood clears roads for firefighters to get equipment in place to fight the fire, and helps ensure residents’ safety.
The more you prepare ahead of a disaster, the better you will feel. Learn more about emergency preparedness planning on NFPA’s emergency planning webpage or visit NFPA’s wildfire safety information page for a step-by-step guide and safety tips checklist. You can also find additional great information from the following organizations:
Check out these great resources and get started on your preparedness plans today!