California is a beautiful state with fantastic weather, but one of its downsides is wildfires, which, unfortunately, occur too frequently. Therefore, you should take precautions before a wildfire hits and have a plan for evacuation. We hope you never have to put this plan into action, but we also know it is better to be proactive and prepared. To that end, here are some things you should include in your wildfire plan.
1. Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit
The Red Cross has put together a list of items that can be assembled to create an emergency preparedness kit in case of a wildfire that causes you to have to evacuate quickly. Fires are unpredictable and can change direction and speed quickly. You may not have any time to gather items during the event, so avoid panic and danger by preparing things now. Here’s a partial list in order of priority, but you can find the full list on the Red Cross website.
At the bare minimum, you will need the following items should you be forced to evacuate. You don’t want to be put in the position where you are scrambling to find these items at the last minute. Get together what you can in advance and keep it in an accessible location.
- Enough water for each person (guideline is one gallon per person, per day)
- Non-perishable food items, such as canned items and prepared, packaged, meals
- A blanket (preferably an emergency blanket)
- A heavy-duty flashlight
- Battery-powered radio so you can get updates
- Batteries for flashlight and radio
- First aid kit (the more robust, the better)
- Important medications
- Personal hygiene items and toiletries (travel size are good)
- Important documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, etc. (placed in a safe, a protective bag, and/or laminated)
- Cell phone (and a charger)
- Wallet or purse containing driver’s license, credit cards, etc.
- Extra cash (if you can, and no coin)
These are items that aren’t necessary for immediate survival but will become necessary should you be away from your home for an extended period of time.
- Children items (diapers, formula, clothes, games, activities)
- Pet supplies
- HAM radio or two-way radio
If You’re a Prepper
There are items that will be of great benefit should you ever need them, whether due to wildfires or a zombie apocalypse. These would include things like N95 masks, clothing, a hunting knife, gloves, sleeping bags, rain gear, and duct tape (because, duh). It should be noted that this is a partial list and doesn’t include things like weapons and zombie mace.
2. Create an Evacuation and Communication Plan
Create evacuation and communication plans well in advance and practice them with your family. Your plans should include:
- A designated meeting spot for all family members to ensure all are accounted for and ready to leave.
- A designated friend or family member outside the danger zone that can be used as a point of contact should your family become separated.
- Ideally, at least three different escape routes.
- A plan for the removal of pets, horses, and livestock, if applicable.
- A plan for temporary shelter.
3. Prepare Your Home
It may not be possible to save your home, but you can take steps to protect it. Here are three examples:
- Store fire tools, such as rakes, axes, and shovels in a place you can easily access.
- Clean your roof and gutters regularly and remove any brush and debris.
- Have a garden hose handy that reaches to all important areas and structures on your property.
There’s an App for That
Wildfires are dangerous and present a serious threat. We want you to be safe and prepared because we kinda like you, and we don’t want anything to happen to you. Hopefully, the steps highlighted in this article will help equip you. Stay safe, Cali!
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