Actions Before: Determine Risk, Increase Knowledge, Safeguard, Plan
Read Publications and Handouts
- FEMA - Wildfire: Are You Prepared? (PDF 1.7MB)
- FEMA - Focus on Fire Safety: Wildfire Safety (PDF 648KB)
- CDC - Be Ready: Wildfires Infographic (PDF - 345KB)
General All-Hazard Actions:
- Determine the disaster risks in your locale and the hazards that accompany them.
- Increase your knowledge about the emergency warning signals and alert notifications used in your community.
- Instruct family members how to shut off water, gas and electricity to your house.
- Make the necessary property preparations to reduce the damage from the hazard.
- Acquire a backup generator in case of a prolonged power failure.
- Check into insurance (property, health, life, and hazard type).
- Make the necessary financial arrangements in case of a sudden evacuation and power outage that shuts down local ATMs and banks.
- Organize important documents and records and store them in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
- Perform home inventory video taping and store tape in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
- Develop an Emergency Communication Plan with evacuation plan and ask an out-of-state person to serve as the "family contact".
- Assemble a shelter-in-place Emergency Supplies Kit.
- Assemble a mobile Emergency Supplies Kit that can serve as a “grab and go” bag?
- Get a family member trained in first aid and CPR.
- Make the necessary preparations and arrangements for pets, seniors, and the disabled.
- Familiarize yourself with the emergency plans of your family member's employment building, school, day care center, or nursing home.
Hazard Specific Actions:
- Learn and teach safe fire practices - build fires away from nearby trees or bushes, always have a way to extinguish a fire, never leave a fire unattended.
- Obtain local building codes and weed abatement ordinances for buildings near wooded areas.
- Use fire-resistant materials when building, renovating, or retrofitting structures. Avoid using wooden shakes and shingles for roofing.
- Use only thick, tempered safety glass in large windows and doors.
- Create a safety zone to separate home from combustible plants and vegetables.
- Install electrical lines underground, if possible.
- Prune all branches around residence to a height of 8-10 feet.
- Keep trees adjacent to buildings free of dead or dying wood and moss.
- Remove all dead limbs, needles, and debris from rain gutters.
- Store combustible/flammable materials in approved safety containers and keep away from home.
- Keep chimney clean.
- Avoid open burning, especially during dry season Install smoke detectors on every level of your home.
Actions During: Safety Basics, Evacuation, Shelter in Place
If trapped outside in a wildfire, you CANNOT outrun it:
- Crouch in a pond or river and cover head and upper body with wet clothing.
- If a body of water is unavailable, look for shelter in a cleared area or among a bed of rocks and lie flat and cover body with wet clothing or soil.
If within a structure or home:
- Listen to radio for emergency information.
- Remove combustible items (outdoor furniture, umbrellas, tarp coverings, and firewood) from around the home.
- Take down flammable drapes and curtains and close all Venetian blinds or noncombustible window coverings
- Close all doors and windows inside home to prevent draft.
- Close gas valves and turn off pilot light.
- Turn on a light in each room for visibility in heavy smoke.
- Place valuables that will not be damaged by water, in a pool or pond.
- If hoses and adequate water are available, leave sprinklers on roofs and anything that might be damaged by fire.
- Be ready to evacuate all family members and pets when fire nears or when instructed to do so by local officials.
Actions After: Get Disaster Relief, Clean-up, Salvage
- Be cautious when re-entering a burned wildland area - hot spots can flare up without warning.
- Check the roof immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers and the attic for hidden burning sparks.
- Re-check for smoke and sparks throughout the home for several hours afterward.
- Breathe the air close to the ground through a wet cloth to avoid scorching lungs or inhaling smoke.
- American Red Cross, CDC – Emergency Preparedness and Response, FEMA – Are You Ready? Guide, Ready.gov, Be a Force of Nature with NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation, National Weather Service Weather Safety
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