Create a detailed evacuation plan…and practice it.
Create a detailed plan for a quick exit.
If wildfire does come, you’ll have a much better chance of saving people, pets, and property if you have a solid plan in place. Here are some key considerations to add to your plan should you have to leave in a hurry:
Shut off gas and HVAC:
- Make sure your family knows how to safely shut down your gas and HVAC. The HVAC can suck up embers, causing fire to spread.
- Firefighters usually prefer you leave on the water and electricity when you leave. This allows them to fill up up the water tank on their fire engines, and use the electrical pump if you have a well.
- If you have time, remember to leave your front and back porch lights on so firefighters can see your home if it gets smoky.
Plan an organized, efficient way of gathering “The 6 Ps”:
- People and pets
- Papers, phone numbers, and important documents
- Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
- Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
- Personal computer hard drive and disks
- Plastic (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash
Designate a meeting spot outside your home:
- Choose a safe spot, such as a driveway or brush-free, tree-free area in front of your home.
- Have everyone gather there before putting your emergency plan into action and evacuating.
Keep Fire Extinguishers Handy
- Put a fire extinguisher in every room.
- Make sure everyone old enough to use one knows HOW to use one.
- Check fire extinguisher expiration dates regularly.
Know your evacuation routes and destination
- Be sure each driver in your household knows, and practices, several routes leading out of your area.
- Select an evacuation destination so you don’t have to make that decision on the run (especially important if your family is traveling in more than one vehicle).
Learn more about creating a Wildfire Action Plan here:
Create a personalized Wildfire Action Plan here:
Make sure your plan works.
Involve the whole family to be sure everybody knows how to put your Wildfire Action Plan into practice.
- Run actual drills of your plan, especially during the hotter months.
- Have printed copies of your Wildfire Action Plan so you can be sure every detail is being reviewed.
- Verbally/visually review such things as fire extinguisher use and utility shut-offs.
- Be sure to practice getting pets into carriers and larger animals into their trailers.
- Drive all possible routes to your family’s evacuation destination.
- Keep in mind during an actual emergency, road closures and or the instructions of authorities may necessitate a quick change of route, driving on the wrong side of the road, or other unexpected adjustments.
- Always follow the instructions of authorities, to ensure the fastest safest evacuation possible.
- Memorize and test yourself on the contact phone numbers and address of anyone you may be traveling to.