In 2018, more than 58,000 fires burned nearly nine million acres across the United States. If you live in a wildfire prone area, it’s important to take necessary steps to be prepared. We’ve created a list of precautionary measures you and your family can take.
Create an evacuation and emergency plan
Creating an emergency evacuation plan helps to ensure the safety of you and your family. Consider making these preparations:
- Designate a meeting location for your family and a system of communicating.
- Review any local evacuation plans and routes. Map out your evacuation route and plan for any changes in direction of the fire that could impact your path.
- Have a plan for transporting pets and other large animals.
- Be sure your vehicle is adequately fueled and contains an emergency kit.
- If an evacuation order has been issued for your location, evacuate immediately.
Make emergency supply kits
Having a kit with necessary supplies ensures you are prepared for emergency situations. Ready.gov recommends emergency supplies are available in multiple locations – home, work and vehicles. They recommend your emergency kit includes:
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food and water (one gallon of water per person per day)
- First aid kit and any needed prescription medications
- Battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries
- One change of clothes and a blanket for each person
- Extra cell phone chargers
- Cash or traveler’s checks
- Sanitation supplies
- Any special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
- Dust masks
- Important family documents in a waterproof container
- Tools to shut off utilities
- Whistle to signal for help
- Local maps
Preparations for your home
Consider taking these precautionary steps to protect your home in the event of a wildfire:
- Clean your roof and gutters on a regular basis.
- Create space around your house. Debris, wood piles, dried leaves and brush and other flammable materials should be at least 30 feet from your home.
- Connect water hoses to an outside tap and fill large containers with water.
- Shut off gas at the meter, turn off pilot lights and propane tanks.
- Review your homeowner’s insurance policy and if possible before an emergency occurs, complete a home inventory of the belongings in your home.
Keeping yourself up-to-date on changes in conditions is an important factor to ensure your safety. The National Weather Services (NWS) issues a fire weather watch when dangerous fire weather conditions could occur over the upcoming 12 to 72 hours.
- Turn on your TV or radio, keep your phone close by and look for updates online to stay on top of the latest weather and emergency alerts, warnings and instructions.
- See if there’s a local text or email alert system for emergencies.
You can’t control when a wildfire will hit; but you can be prepared. Reach out to your Farm Bureau agent to confirm you are ready in case of a wildfire.