When it comes to residential and wild land fires, they tend to be unpredictable and a force to be reckoned with. Being prepared for this emergency can seem like a daunting task, but having a plan in place makes all the difference when an emergency arises.
Forming a perimeter around your house, free of branches, pine needles, leaves, sagebrush, etc., gives you a natural barrier from potential fires. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 25 feet around your home free of debris. The less fuel you have to feed the fire, the greater chance your home has of surviving. Here are some additional things to do to prepare in case of an evacuation:
- Remove any flammable items from the exterior of your home (patio furniture, trash cans, etc.) and bring them inside.
- Relocate your BBQ and turn off any propane tanks.
In the case that you are being evacuated, here are some additional suggestions:
- Know your communities emergency response plans.
- Know which routes are best for you to evacuate.
- Make sure your garden hose is connected. Firemen may need to use it.
- Turn off your sprinklers. This can affect the water pressure in your area.
- Close all doors, windows and vents inside your home.
A final suggestion is don't wait to be evacuated. It is often wise to leave before your local fire department puts the evacuation order out. Leaving early means you have more options for roads to be open, less congestion, and it leaves more room on the roads for emergency responders.
Home Fire Preparedness
Some of these suggestions may seem like a no-brainer, but can be an easy oversight for most homeowners when it comes to fire preparation. Install some smoke alarms and make sure you check they are working properly at least twice a year. A smoke alarm with dead batteries is useless. Fire extinguishers can be a great help and a quick solution to put out a small fire.
Have an evacuation plan set in place for your home and prep each family member. Make sure everyone knows and has practiced your plan a few times a year. Everyone in the home needs to know of at least 2 exits points from each room, if possible, for an emergency. Set a meet-up location where all family members can meet that is away from the danger. It is a good rule of thumb to have a secondary location in case the first location is not accessible.
We have created a downloadable fire escape plan sheet that you can use with your family to create an escape plan that is specific to your situation and home.
Lastly, if you plan and run through different scenarios ahead of time, you will be much better prepared if an emergency does happen.