While many of us were schooled about fire safety as kids, it may not be fresh in our minds. As drought conditions continue in several parts of the world, wildfires are spreading quickly, and it’s probably a good time for a wildfire safety refresher.
Before a wildfire starts, the American Red Cross suggests preparing for them by:
- Posting emergency phone numbers near your phone (or in the case of a cell phone adding them to your contacts)
- Making sure your driveway entrances and house numbers are clearly visible to allow the fire department easy access
- Identifying a water source outside your home (like a well, pond, cistern, or swimming pool)
- Putting aside tools that may be used as firefighting aids such as rakes, buckets, and shovels
- Regularly cleaning rain gutters and dry debris from your property
Another aspect of preparing for fires is having an evacuation plan. It’s important to plan evacuation routes and understand what sort of transportation may be available in your area during an emergency, especially if you don’t have access to a car. Many towns and cities have emergency plans in place in case of evacuation, and it’s a good idea to check official websites or get in touch with a city clerk who may be able to direct you to more information.
- Leave at a moment’s notice
- Listen for information and updates on the spread and severity of the fire on local news and radio stations
- Put pets in one room so that you know exactly where to find them if you are need to evacuate.
- Close windows to keep smoke from getting into the house (and into lungs!)
- When there is heavy smoke in the air don’t use vaccum cleaners, candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves which will further pollute the clean air in the house and stir up the smoke particles already in the air
Though wildfires are dangerous and unpredictable, with thoughtful planning and preparation, you and your family have a better chance of staying safe and healthy in the event of a wildfire.
By: Kristin Driver
Kristin Driver serves as a writer and consultant for The Risk Authority Stanford (TRA). She graduated from Simmons College with an MS in Communication, MA in Gender and Cultural Studies, and MFA in Writing. Prior to joining the TRA team, she spent most of her time researching, editing, and writing for a wide array of blogs, papers, and creative projects. Happily, that’s exactly what she’s still doing.