Wildfires can happen suddenly and be catastrophic for those affected. Because this emergency is a quick one, you should have a wildfire action plans ready and be able to execute it if the worst happens.
Fire season is brought on by both seasonally (in some areas) and unseasonably dry weather with ignitable material. Droughts and dry conditions greatly multiply the likelihood of wildfires and it is important to prepare an “action plan” for the entire family in the case that your family is faced with a wildfire emergency.
One of the most effective ways to ensure your safety is to be certain that all members of your household know your action plan well in advance of a wildfire. This will help the family act more quickly to this fast-moving emergency. Go over this plan several times a year, if not more, to make sure everyone understands what they will need to do.
Create an Evacuation Plan
Creating the evacuation plan is the first step. According to Ready For Wildfire, these are the essential steps to create a family-based wildfire action plan:
- Decide upon a designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has already been safely evacuated from the affected area.
- Map out several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
- Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
- Put together a family communication plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when a phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.)
How To Be Prepared
- Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family on how to properly use them (check expiration dates regularly). Make sure you maintain them as well.
- Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
- Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for each person, as recommended by the American Red Cross. (See the next section for details.) This could be your bug out bag too.
- Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers posted near your phone and in your emergency supply kit.
- Keep an extra Emergency Supply Kit in your car in case you cannot get to your home because of fire or other emergencies.
- Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire.
- Tell your neighbors about your Wildfire Action Plan and encourage them to construct one as well!
Check out Ready Nutrition’s Wildfire Preparedness Checklist
The goal is to have a plan that all members of the family can execute in a timely manner to avoid injury or loss of life. Material possessions are just things. Your plans should focus on the safety of living things, including your pets, or homesteading animals.