WILDFIRES CAN . . .
• Wildfires can ruin homes and cause injuries or death to people and animals.
• Often be caused by humans or lightning.
• Cause flooding or disrupt transportation, gas, power and communications.
• Happen anywhere, anytime. Risk increases within periods of little rain and high winds.
• Cost the Federal Government billions of dollars each year.
FIRE PREPAREDNESS TIPS
In and Around Your Home
• Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
• Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house.
• Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
• Remove flammable materials within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
• Wildfire can spread to treetops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
• Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
• Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
• Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
• Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
• Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.
• Use fire-resistant materials to build, renovate, or make repairs.
• Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
• Know your community’s evacuation plans and find several ways to leave the area. Look for shelter locations and designate a meeting place. Practice driving the evacuation routes with everyone in your home. Have a plan for pets and livestock.
• Assemble an emergency supply kit and place it in a safe spot. Remember to include important documents, medications, personal identification and include N95 respirator masks to help you breathe. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including and updated asthma action plan and medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
• Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air. Close all doors and windows. Set up a portable air cleaner to keep indoor pollution levels low when smoky conditions exist.
• Keep important documents in a fireproof, safe place. Create password-protected digital copies.
• Review insurance coverage to make sure it is enough to replace your property.
During the time a wildfire is in your area
• Stay aware of the latest news and updates from your local media and fire department. Get your family, home and pets prepared to evacuate.
• Place your emergency supply kit and other valuables in your vehicle.
• Move patio or deck furniture, cushions, door mats and potted plants in wooden containers either indoors or as far away from the home, shed and garage as possible.
• Close and protect your home’s openings, including attic and basement doors and vents, windows, garage doors and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home.
• Find an outdoor water source with a hose that can reach any area of your property. Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Firefighters have been known to use the hoses to put out fires on rooftops.
• If you are not ordered to evacuate but smoky conditions exist, stay inside in a safe location or go to a community building where smoke levels are lower.
• Leave as early as possible, before you’re told to evacuate. Do not linger once evacuation orders have been given. By promptly leaving your home and neighborhood, this clears the roads for firefighters to get equipment in place to fight the fire and helps ensure residents’ safety.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A WILDFIRE WARNING, GET TO SAFETY RIGHT AWAY!
• Evacuate immediately, if authorities tell you to do so.
• If you are trapped, call 911 and give your location, but be aware that emergency response could be delayed or impossible. Turn on lights to help rescuers find you.
• Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
• Pay attention to air quality alerts. Use an N95 masks to keep harmful particles out of the air you breathe.
After a wildfire has been contained
• Continue to listen to news updates for information about the fire.
• Listen to authorities to find out when it is safe to return, and whether water is safe to drink.
• Avoid hot ash, charred trees, smoldering debris, and live embers. The ground may contain heat pockets that can burn you or spark another fire. Consider the danger to pets and livestock.
• Send text messages or use social media to reach out to family and friends. Phone systems are often busy following a disaster. Make calls only in emergencies.
• Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
• Document property damage with photographs. Conduct an inventory and contact your insurance company for assistance.
• Wildfires dramatically change landscape and ground conditions, which can lead to increased risk of flooding due to heavy rains, flash flooding and mudflows. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored up to 5 years after a wildfire. Consider purchasing flood insurance to protect the life you’ve built and to assure financial protection from future flooding.
• Visit https://www.ready.gov/wildfires for more information regarding wildfire after an emergency.
Help others in your neighborhood become fire wise. Fire is a recognizable danger our community faces every day.