Fires

10 things you can do to prepare your family for a wildfire in California

You have 10 minutes to evacuate. Are you ready?

You can’t predict when disaster will strike, so make sure you have a plan. Here are nine things you can do to prepare for a future evacuation.
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You can’t predict when disaster will strike, so make sure you have a plan. Here are nine things you can do to prepare for a future evacuation.

Concerned for your own and your family’s safety in a wildfire evacuation? Here are 10 things you can do to prepare now:

  1. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. Cal Fire’s emergency app is at www.readyforwildfire.org/Ready-for-Wildfire-App
  2. Identify several routes to take to safety. Know your community’s evacuation plans (if there are any, and if they’re public).
  3. Practice driving the evacuation routes listed in number two. If you know ahead of time what places would be designated shelter locations, practice driving there from your home.
  4. Have a plan for pets and livestock.
  5. Keep important documents in a fireproof safe or in a safety deposit box. Create password-protected digital copies to put in a second secure location.
  6. Keep a pair of sturdy shoes and a flashlight near your bed in case of a sudden evacuation at night.
  7. Have an easily-accessible list of emergency contact numbers for family, friends, doctors, insurance, veterinarians if you are a pet owner, etc. Keep a copy in your emergency supply kit.
  8. Keep assembled pet carriers and leashes ready, and put your name and cell phone number and your vet’s name and office number on carriers.
  9. Have a practice drill with your family to make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of a real evacuation.
  10. Gather emergency supplies, including N95 respirator masks. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including an updated asthma plan and medication if needed.

Read more at Ready.gov at https://www.ready.gov/wildfires and Cal Fire’s wildfire action plan at http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Wildfire-Action-Plan/.

For more on preparing pets, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/features/petsanddisasters/index.html.

Prepare an easily accessible emergency supply kit that includes:

  • For each person in your household, an N95 respirator mask, a three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water.
  • A map of the area with at least two evacuation routes planned.
  • Prescriptions or special medications and your doctor’s contact information.
  • At least one change of clothes for each person in your household.
  • Extra pairs of glasses and/or contact lenses.
  • An extra set of car keys.
  • Credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks.
  • First aid kit.
  • At least one flashlight.
  • An emergency battery-powered radio and extra batteries.
  • Cleaning supplies and toiletries.
  • Copies of important documents including birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports and insurance information related to cars, renters, homeowners and health. Don’t forget important medical records and pet microchip and license information.
  • List of emergency numbers (see above).
  • Pet carriers, leashes and collars, towels for sleeping, bowls, poop bags, kitty litter and a pan, water and pet food — with a can opener if needed.

If an evacuation is called and you’re sure time allows, pack these items into the kit:

  • Easily carried valuables.
  • Family photos and other irreplaceable items.
  • Computer files on hard drives and stick drives.
  • Chargers for cell phones, laptops and other electronics.

Go to the Cal Fire website for links to more resources and information on preparing babies, children and people with special needs: http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Prepare-Your-Family/.

Source: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s emergency readiness campaign.

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