This is the second installation in our three part series on wildfires. Check out the first part about prevention here and the next part about evacuation here.
Even if you follow all of the fire safety practices to a T, it’s still very important to properly prepare for a wildfire. Wildfires can still happen naturally, or they might be caused by one of your neighbors (which is why wildfire prevention is a community effort). Prevention is, of course, the best preparation, but here are some other pointers and tips to follow in order to prepare for battling wildfires or possible evacuation.
Wildfire Disaster Preparation
- Plan out and practice at least two routes out of your neighborhood or surrounding area. Certain routes may be blocked off during a fire, so it’s important to have options. Make sure everyone in the household understands these routes and physically practices them routinely.
- Teach every family member how to use a fire extinguisher.
- Make sure every family member knows where the fire extinguisher is.
- Display your family name and address clearly so that it can be identified from the road. This ensures that emergency vehicles won’t miss your house if there is trouble.
- Similarly to the above, make sure all entrances and passageways to your house are clearly marked so that emergency vehicles can reach you as quickly and easily as possible.
- Make sure that you are testing your fire alarms every year. Communications tests are easy with a quick call to Protect America. They let you rest assured that your alarm systems are functioning and communicating with the monitoring centers properly.
- Keep extra batteries in your house so that you can switch out the fire alarm batteries as soon as they are low. This reduces the chances of the batteries running out and rendering the detector ineffective; it also reduces the amount of time you spend listening to the low battery warning beep! To learn more about troubleshooting smoke alarms, click here.
- If you ever see a hazardous condition—caused by someone else or just by nature—be sure to report it to authorities right away.
- Talk to your children about fire safety. Children are curious and can sometimes create hazardous situations out of ignorance. They love to learn, so teaching them about fire safety can both satisfy their curiosity and increase awareness of their own actions.
- Talk to your neighbors about fire safety as well. If you see neighbors doing highly risky activities or repeatedly performing dangerous habits, they definitely need to be informed. However, even if no one is doing anything blatantly risky or dangerous, having a community discussion is still useful for everyone involved. Information and education are easy and affordable solutions for preventing wildfires.
Preparing for a wildfire can save lives, and it also gives you peace of mind knowing that you and your family are practiced in responding to this life-threatening emergency. Share this with your family, friends, and community members to promote wildfire awareness and safety.