When it comes to wildfires, safety tips like evacuating in a timely manner and listening to individuals who are in charge during rescue efforts will without a doubt keep you and your family safe.
Wildfires may be natural or man-made, and can damage hundreds of acres of land, leaving behind a long trail of destruction for residents to deal with. However, with careful planning and proper procedures, these disasters don’t have to result in a loss of life – only material goods.
Nevertheless, it’s important for residents to remember that fires are unpredictable and can jump over barriers that would normally stop other disasters – like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes – dead in their tracks. If there is a high risk of wildfires occurring near you or you suspect a wildfire could be heading your way, then it’s time for you and your family to learn about wildfire safety protocols and be ready to evacuate if necessary.
The truth is, we should all be prepared for emergencies, and the following steps listed below can help you and your plan accordingly:
Listen to the News: Although news organizations have gotten a bad reputation over the past couple months, they actually provide useful information when it comes to disasters. Why? Well, because they’re usually the first to receive the information. This means they won’t only provide you with updates on what’s going on around you, but they’ll also provide you with real-time news.
Most deaths from natural disasters usually occur when people ignoring all the warning signs – news, social media, and environmental change – and the first sign of danger is seeing emergency personal evacuating the area. That’s why wildfire safety and preparation means understanding what actions to take in case of an emergency and locating the right resources.
Fire weather watch, for example, is issued when the weather provides the perfect opportunity to fuel a major fire in the near future. A fire watch is used when there is a low chance of an outbreak and is typically issued anywhere from 12 to 24 hours in advance. A red flag warning, on the other hand, is issued when there is a high chance of a wildfire occurring and is issued within 12 hours of happening.
Plan Ahead: Does your family have a fire escape plan? If not, create one. Although a wildfire can happen anywhere, there are certain areas in the country that more susceptible than others. Most of the states out west, and particularly California, see hundreds of wildfires fires each year and see thousands of acres destroyed as well. However, colder climates states can also be at risk from overuse of things like electric space heaters, blankets, and outlets. Fortunately, designing an electrical safety checklist can help minimize the chances of a fire breaking out – even in 20-degree weather.
Knowing who to turn to for emotional support should also be at the top of your list. In other words, don’t just think about from a physical point of view, think of it from a mental point of view as well. Experiencing a natural disaster can do a lot of mental damage, especially for children. That’s why it’s important to know who to reach out to. Counselors – specifically crisis counselors – assist individuals with coping and support after a major crisis, which is important during the recovery stage.
So if you live in an area that has been known for wildfires in the past, you need to start planning your next move. That includes:
● Creating multiple evacuation routes, in case the first option is closed or clustered with traffic.
● Gathering and monitoring important documents – like social security cards, birth certificates, passports, and bank information – that can easily be grabbed during an emergency evacuation.
● A first-aid kit along with an overnight bag.
● Phone numbers of close friends and relatives in case you get separated or want to let them know you’re OK.
Protect Your Home: With so much heat, wind, and dry agriculture, even the most well-developed wildfire safety preparation won’t stand a chance against a fire. Luckily, there are certain steps you and your family can take to help prevent smaller fires from creeping up on your property and causing chaos. The following tips could help you prevent unnecessary damage to your home and maybe even help your community with their preparedness as well.
● The first thing you should do is remove and clear anything around your home that can fuel the fire. This can include dry leaves, bushes, or any lawn decoration and furniture that could ignite in the case of a fire.
● Create fuel breaks to help control or modify the risk of the fire spreading.
● If you haven’t already, purchase and install a garden hose that’s long enough to reach every point of the house – from front to back.
Make Sure the Danger Has Passed before Returning Home: Generally speaking, once a disaster has passed, most people make an attempt to rush home to recover anything that hasn’t been damaged or destroyed in the process. But this isn’t always the best method. So before heading back home, make sure it’s safe – especially since there are many hazards left behind by the excessive heat that could be a major threat to you and your family. With that in mind, keep an eye out for things like:
● Ash pits. These are large holes that are formed by burning tree stumps and can be extremely dangerous.
● Faulty power lines
● Falling debris from damaged buildings, homes, and wires.
● Hotspots, which are areas of the ground that are still hot from the flames. They can range anywhere from 70 degrees to 400 degrees – depending on how long the fires were out.
Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything important? What are some other ways fire preparedness tips homeowners should know about? Feel free to leave a reply.
H.D. loves taking advantage of the sunny weather outside. If you can’t catch him online reading whatever he gets his hands on, you might be able to catch out playing football with friends, or cheering on the Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241.