Wildfires are nothing new to the State of California. But, the frequency has grown at a rapid rate as fire season seems to begin earlier and earlier each year and in a much bigger capacity. After the Woolsey and Camp fires last November, Californians have certainly become more aware of this fact and have become much more pro-active to do things that may save their homes and in the case of a sudden evacuation. It is crucial to be prepared especially if you have only minutes to gather your loved ones, important documents, and some personal items. Here is a checklist I have created that may be of help:
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
Identify several routes to take to safety
Know your community’s evacuation plans (if there are any, and if they’re public). Practice driving the evacuation routes. If you know ahead of time what places would be designated shelter locations, practice driving there from your home.
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.
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.
Pet Safety & evacuation plan
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.
Have a practice drill with your family to make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of a real evacuation.
including food, water, N95 respirator masks and full tank of gas. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including an updated asthma plan and medication if needed. Check flashlights, radios, etc and make sure they have fresh batteries. Have everything in one place so it is easy to grab and go if need be.
Inspect your home’s exterior
Walk around the outside of your home and made sure movable objects have been brought inside, secured to the ground, or in safe places? Think of things like patio furniture, umbrellas, unlatched gates, basketball hoops, sports nets, etc. Take the extra time to inspect trees on and around your property for loose branches.
Inspect holiday decorations frequently
Ensure decorations are securely fastened and if plugged into electricity, consider unplugging them for the duration of this wind storm. Sparking electrical wires cause fires.
Be power outage ready
Outages can always happen and thousands of Californians have been going hours and even days without power due to companies like PG & E and S Cal Edison forcing power shutoffs as a safety precaution in fire-prone areas. Checking with your servicer or on their website or visiting https://www.ready.gov/power-outages can keep you in the loop on current and possible outages. Having a backup generator, extra candles and lighters, flashlights with fresh batteries and keeping a low stock of perishables will also make things easier.