U.S. homeowners in heavily wooded regions are especially at risk if and when a wildfire starts. If you live in one of these areas, it’s crucial that you know how to prepare for possible wildfires and how to keep your home and your family safe if a fire starts. To help you out, here are some safety tips split into two categories: preparation for and survival during a wildfire.
Some measures you can take to be ready in case a wildfire spreads to your home include:
- Have a Wildfire Evacuation Plan: make sure you have a plan for where and how to evacuate during a wildfire and practice this plan with your family. You should also have an emergency kit including food, drinking water and first aid supplies in case an evacuation becomes necessary.
- Keep Fire Extinguishers Handy: have at least one fire extinguisher on each floor of your house, and make sure each member of your family–including children–know how to use one.
- Keep a Hose and Water Around, Too: in addition to at least one outdoor hose, you should keep large buckets of water in your yard during wildfire season. These may help you stop or slow a wildfire if it begins to spread onto your property.
- Have a Smoke Detector on Every Floor: you need at least one smoke detector on every floor of your home so your family will be alerted to a fire as soon as possible. Be sure to test them regularly to be sure they’re functioning properly.
What to Do During a Wildfire
The most important thing to do during a wildfire is to listen to the news in case an evacuation order is issued. If you aren’t required to evacuate, you’ll want to:
- Wear Protective Clothing: heavy clothing that won’t easily catch fire from stray sparks is a must. You should also keep masks handy to protect your family from smoke.
- Remove Flammable Outdoor Items: remove chopped wood, wooden lawn furniture and other flammable items from your property as soon as you’re alerted to an approaching wildfire.
- Keep Windows and Doors Closed: this will prevent drafts in your home that can feed a spreading fire.
- Shut off Gas Sources: make sure you close any gas valves that could cause deadly explosions during a fire.
- Move Flammable Furniture to Center of Your Home: this will make it easier to escape if a wildfire reaches your home.
- Load Your Car In Advance: pack your car with emergency supplies ahead of time so you can leave at a moment’s notice.
- Turn on Internal and External Lights: Keep all lights on in case firefighters need to spot your house through thick smoke.
The number-one priority in wildfire-prone areas is to keep your family safe. If your home is damaged during a wildfire, professional fire restoration services can help you repair the damage, but there’s no repair for lost lives. If a wildfire does spread near your home, listen to news updates, follow these safety tips and contact a fire restoration professional in the aftermath if necessary.