Wildfires: Before, During, and After

Reviewed Sep 8, 2017

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Summary

Have disaster supplies on hand:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit and manual

Basic safety tips

  • If you see a wildfire and haven't received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1. Don't assume that someone else has already called.
  • If ordered to evacuate during a wildfire, do it immediately. Tell someone where you are going and when you have arrived.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
  • If you or someone you are with has been burned, call 9-1-1 or seek help immediately; cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.

Fire weather watch

Fire weather watch = dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 12 to 72 hours

Steps to take

  • Turn on your TV/radio. You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the route to take and have plan of where you will go. Check in with your friends and family.
  • Keep your car fueled, in good condition, and stocked with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

Prepare your home

  • Regularly clean the roof and gutters.
  • Maintain an area approximately 30 feet away from your home that is free of anything that will burn, such as wood piles, dried leaves, newspapers, and other brush.
  • Connect garden hoses long enough to reach any area of the home and fill garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water.
  • Review your homeowner's insurance policy and also prepare/update a list of your home's contents.

After a wildfire

Returning home

  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • For several hours after the fire, maintain a "fire watch." Check and re-check for smoke, sparks, or hidden embers throughout the house, including the roof and the attic.
  • Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning. Evacuate immediately if you smell smoke.

Cleaning your home

  • Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator (dust mask) and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Do not use water that you think may be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, or to make ice or baby formula.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.

Before wildfire season—make a wildfire plan

  • Know your wildfire risk.
  • Make a wildfire emergency plan.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to evacuate.
  • Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio, for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency, http://www.ready.gov/wildfires

Summary

Have disaster supplies on hand:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit and manual

Basic safety tips

  • If you see a wildfire and haven't received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1. Don't assume that someone else has already called.
  • If ordered to evacuate during a wildfire, do it immediately. Tell someone where you are going and when you have arrived.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
  • If you or someone you are with has been burned, call 9-1-1 or seek help immediately; cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.

Fire weather watch

Fire weather watch = dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 12 to 72 hours

Steps to take

  • Turn on your TV/radio. You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the route to take and have plan of where you will go. Check in with your friends and family.
  • Keep your car fueled, in good condition, and stocked with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

Prepare your home

  • Regularly clean the roof and gutters.
  • Maintain an area approximately 30 feet away from your home that is free of anything that will burn, such as wood piles, dried leaves, newspapers, and other brush.
  • Connect garden hoses long enough to reach any area of the home and fill garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water.
  • Review your homeowner's insurance policy and also prepare/update a list of your home's contents.

After a wildfire

Returning home

  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • For several hours after the fire, maintain a "fire watch." Check and re-check for smoke, sparks, or hidden embers throughout the house, including the roof and the attic.
  • Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning. Evacuate immediately if you smell smoke.

Cleaning your home

  • Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator (dust mask) and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Do not use water that you think may be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, or to make ice or baby formula.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.

Before wildfire season—make a wildfire plan

  • Know your wildfire risk.
  • Make a wildfire emergency plan.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to evacuate.
  • Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio, for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency, http://www.ready.gov/wildfires

Summary

Have disaster supplies on hand:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit and manual

Basic safety tips

  • If you see a wildfire and haven't received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1. Don't assume that someone else has already called.
  • If ordered to evacuate during a wildfire, do it immediately. Tell someone where you are going and when you have arrived.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
  • If you or someone you are with has been burned, call 9-1-1 or seek help immediately; cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.

Fire weather watch

Fire weather watch = dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 12 to 72 hours

Steps to take

  • Turn on your TV/radio. You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the route to take and have plan of where you will go. Check in with your friends and family.
  • Keep your car fueled, in good condition, and stocked with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

Prepare your home

  • Regularly clean the roof and gutters.
  • Maintain an area approximately 30 feet away from your home that is free of anything that will burn, such as wood piles, dried leaves, newspapers, and other brush.
  • Connect garden hoses long enough to reach any area of the home and fill garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water.
  • Review your homeowner's insurance policy and also prepare/update a list of your home's contents.

After a wildfire

Returning home

  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • For several hours after the fire, maintain a "fire watch." Check and re-check for smoke, sparks, or hidden embers throughout the house, including the roof and the attic.
  • Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning. Evacuate immediately if you smell smoke.

Cleaning your home

  • Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator (dust mask) and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Do not use water that you think may be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, or to make ice or baby formula.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.

Before wildfire season—make a wildfire plan

  • Know your wildfire risk.
  • Make a wildfire emergency plan.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to evacuate.
  • Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio, for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency, http://www.ready.gov/wildfires

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