The unfortunate truth of living in California is that you need to be prepared for wildfires. I have been working on my kit since the Camp Fire last year, and in the process I have talked to a lot of you who are not (YET!) fire evacuation ready. If for no other reason, it is important to do this so that you can be ready to help those who didn’t if and when disaster strikes. This information was pulled from a few resources, but mostly its from readyforwildfire.org
No matter the disaster, when we are prepared for it the event is less stressful. There are so many things that we can not control in these situations, so get things you can control done now. Read this info, then Print the ready for wildfire brochure for your reference. You can also download the app.
1) PRE-EVACUATION PREPARATION STEPS
When an evacuation is anticipated, follow these checklists (if time allows) to give your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.
Home Evacuation Checklist – How to Prepare for Evacuation:
Inside the House
- Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
- Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters.
- Remove lightweight curtains.
- Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
- Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights.
- Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
- Shut off the air conditioning.
- Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, etc.) or place them in your pool.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.
- Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill water buckets and place them around the house.
- Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running, they can affect critical water pressure.
- Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.
- Put your GO Kit in your vehicle.
- Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.
- Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof.
- Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
- Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation.
- Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened.
- Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.
- Locate your pets and keep them nearby.
- Leash or crate your pets before you open the door so they don’t dart away if scared by smoke or flames.
- Prepare farm animals for transport and think about moving them to a safe location early.
2) Wildfire Action Plan Checklist
Create an evacuation plan that includes:
- A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area.
- Several different escape routes from your home and community.
- Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
- A Family Communication Plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.)
- Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family how to use them (check expiration dates regularly).
- Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
- Gather your GO KIT. Keep it in waterproof bins in an easily accessible place in your garage.
- Tell your neighbors about Ready, Set, Go! and your Wildfire Action Plan.
3) Make your GO Kit
Below is what I have in mine. We have 4 bins ready to go by the exit of the garage – you can also find kit ideas HERE.
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person. I have canned soup, Ramen, a jug of protein powder, Huma gel, Bag of Dog Kibble, 3 gallons of water and a water filter/bottle.
- Jacket, sweats, sweatshirt, underwear, socks, tee shirt, hat, gloves.
- First aid kit
- Flashlight with batteries removed to prevent corrosion.
- Flashlight batteries
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Sanitation supplies, toiletries.
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Sleeping Bags
- Camping stove + Propane + Pan
- Nesting bowls and spoons
- Dog food/water bowl/leash
- Hand warmers
- Cat Charging Station
Items to take if time allows:
- Easily carried valuables
- Family photos and other irreplaceable items
- Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
- Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
Written by: Michelle Brown on November 12, 2019.