How to Prepare for a Wildfire Evacuation

How to Prepare for a Wildfire Evacuation

Summer brings good weather and hot winds. These are also the perfect conditions for a wildfire. Unfortunately, wildfires have become common place and since 2000, there have been an average of 70,072 wildfires per year and have burned an average of 7 million acres each year.  With drought conditions and hotter than normal weather, the West is expecting a severe wildfire season in 2022. We have created this wildfire evacuation guide to make sure your family is prepared in case you have to evacuate.

Read on to learn how you can take some crucial steps to help you prepare for a wildfire evacuation. We have included a free fire evacuation checklist. You can also check your home risk level from wildfires or flood damage on this website.



Creating a Family Emergency Evacuation Plan

Setting a meet-up point

In the case of a wildfire, large sections of your community may be evacuated. Make sure you have a plan for this situation, because chances are, not everyone will be home when you have to evacuate. If this proves to be true, you should have a predetermined place to meet. In the case of a house fire, you should have a designated spot for your family to meet that is visible from all directions.

Talking to young children about fire preparedness

As early as kindergarten, children are taught to stop, drop, and roll by their teachers. When a fire breaks out at home, teach your children what to do and how to get out of the house immediately. Young children are already being taught in school. Take this advantage to ease the kids into learning what to do when there is a fire at home. Talk about what to do and how to get out, where your first-aid kit is located, and how to use a fire extinguisher. You should have a plan written and practice your evacuation plan. Involve everyone and this can be a fun and educational exercise for your family.

Evacuating a home with elderly or disabled people

Prepare for the evacuation of others who may have difficulty leaving on their own, such as the elderly or disabled. By having a plan in place, you will increase the margin of safety when the need arises. Every persons situation is different and you need to prepare specifically for your scenario. The needs of an elderly person may differ from the needs of the hearing impaired or mentally impaired.

Plan routines of escape by downloading this free fire escape plan!


Building a Wildfire Evacuation Go Bag

This bag should be your personal go-bag. It does not have to be a large bag. It can be a mid-size backpack such as the Outlaw II Gear Slinger Bag that is easy to grab and quickly throw over your shoulder for a quick escape. While it is best for everyone to have a go bag, that is not always the case. If you are the parent or responsible for others, you will need to make sure that you take into account their needs as well as your own.

A go bag should be constructed of robust materials and is easy to carry. The Velox Tactical Backpack is consistently being used as a go bag by many of our customers and is made of rugged 600D water repellent material. It is large enough at 27 liters to fit all of your essentials and has a chest and waist strap to keep the bag secured while you are on the go.

The items on this list are some fundamental necessities; however, you should tailor your pack to include any additional items you may require.

1. Phone charging wires and a battery charger.

2. Keep a spare credit card and cash in your go bag. This is a backup in case you leave your wallet behind in your haste.

3. Long-sleeved shirts and slacks will shield your body from the heat of the fire and give you additional warmth if needed.

4. Glasses are an often-overlooked piece of luggage. Glasses serve to deflect some of the smoke from your eyes, allowing you to see far before your eyes begin to water.

5. Backing files to the cloud. The good news is that many platforms, such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple, already do this for you. Make sure you do this right now, and set it to sync every few days, since if a fire occurs, the last thing on your mind will be your computer, but once you realize it, you'll blame yourself for not doing it sooner.

6. Every time you acquire a new prescription or medication, replace it in your bag. Make sure you have enough for a couple of days.

7. Copies of sensitive documents. If you have the time, get the originals. If not, these will suffice for the time being.

8. When you go outside, a respirator mask will let you breathe more easily rather than inhaling the hazardous air. You can opt for a lower-end respirator, enough to get you into your vehicle.

We have created a free Go Bag Checklist that you can use to help you get started building your own go Bag.




Preparing Your Cars Go Bag

After receiving the evacuation order, the vehicle should be the second place you go. As a result, getting your vehicle ready is crucial. The majority of go-bags are kept in automobiles and are filled with necessities to transport you from point A to point B.

It's important to have a vehicle go bag that includes everyone in the family. It would have plenty of each item for everyone to consume or utilize at the same time. We recommend a Smuggler bag, which comes in three different sizes, to accommodate your family's demands.

Depending on the season, location, and distance from other towns, there are a variety of approaches to assembling a go bag. Here are some essentials for packing your car's emergency kit.

1. Nutrition. People make the mistake of bringing food that is both too large and too little in macros. MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are the greatest option for go bags since they are compact, have a long shelf life, and focus on high protein calories and carbs.

2. Hydration. A case of water in the car is a smart place to start. In most circumstances, you will arrive at your destination before running out of gas.

3. Flashlights are an essential tool. The impacted areas will be without power for an unknown amount of time.

4.In an emergency, a knife is a helpful item to have. It's more than just a weapon. A knife is a highly versatile instrument.

5. Kit for first-aid. This should already be in your vehicle. The goods will be slightly modified for a wildfire evacuation. Small burns, scratches, ointments, gauze, pads, and single-use respirator masks should all be included in your first-aid box.

6. Blankets for emergencies These blankets resemble huge foil sheets. They aid in the retention of up to 95% of body heat. If you are unable to reach your destination due to roadblocks, the blankets will provide protection from the weather.


Preparing the Home

Most of the time, you will have some time before you have to leave the house. Typically, officials go door to door informing homeowners that they are going to be made to evacuate their houses. If the fire continues to spread, you will have a brief window to prepare your property. We recommend that you do the following to prepare your home.

1. Turn off your gas supply. The valve on most domestic gas lines can be turned off using a screwdriver or a wrench. 

2. Clear combustible materials from the area around the window. Wood blinds and curtains are included.

3. Remove any furnishings near the windows. Move them to the center of the room, out from the fire's immediate reach. 

4. Remove combustible things from around the outside of the house. Grills, propane tanks, wood piles, outside furniture, and other flammable items can contribute to a fire.

 Prepare for a wildfire evacuation today, rather than waiting until it is too late. Start gathering the items you will need to make your escape plan a reality as soon as possible now that you know where to begin.

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