Wildfire preparedness is not to be taken lightly. According to the National Interagency Coordination Center in 2022, there were 68,988 wildfires that turned 7,577,183 acres into ashes making wildfire survival an increasing priority for millions of people. Surviving a wildfire may seem impossible because it’s such an incredibly destructive force, but there are a few simple steps that you can take to increase your chances. Wildfire preparedness begins with a multi-step plan that everyone in areas that are prone to these disasters should spend some time on.
- Have an emergency plan so when a fire happens, you’ll be ready
- Have fully stocked “bug-out bags” for every family member that include . . .
- Noaa Emergency Radio
- Bottled Water
- N95 Respirators
- Fire Extinguishers
- First Aid Kits
- Fire-Retardant Blankets
- Ice Packs (kept in the freezer until taken)
- Signal Mirrors
- Burn Cream
- Teach your family members how to use an ABC type fire extinguisher
- Have rakes, axes, handsaws, ladders, and shovels close at hand
- Use fire-resistant landscaping, shrubs and building materials
- Inspect and clean your chimneys, roofs, and gutters monthly
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, and test the monthly
- Install protective shutters to cover your windows with fire-resistant drapes
- Install two-sided water spigots on each side of your home
- Buy two gasoline powered water pumps that you can use when you lose electricity
- Remove flammable items from your home’s perimeter
- Create an outside water supply that you can tap into if needed
- Invest in a garden hose long enough to reach every building on your property
While these wildfire survival steps can increase your chances of survival, additional precautions must be taken after the fire has been put out. Remember not to return home until your local authorities have said it’s safe to do so. Wildfires can burn as hot as 1200 degrees. Hot ash, smoldering debris and pockets of hot ground embers can burn you, as well as reignite. These areas must be avoided. Use a respirator when possible, to avoid breathing harmful fumes and dust particles. Take photos of the property damage and make an inventory of your belongings.
Remember, wildfire preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. The life you save, may be your own.