Wildfires are a serious threat. Every year, thousands of people are affected by this natural disaster. If you live near an area that is wooded, has lots of ground coverage, or anywhere in nature that a fire can quickly spread, you are at risk to being a victim of a wildfire disaster. So today, we are going to share everything you need to know about staying safe if a wildfire should threaten you and your loved ones.
Wildfire Survival 101
BEFORE A WILDFIRE
Create a Defensible Space
Increase your chances of surviving a wildfire by creating a defensible space around your home. This means that you should clear and/or treat any wood and vegetation that surround your home. You should also get rid of any dead debris and keep wood piles at least 20 feet away from your home. Doing these things will help slow the spread of flames toward your home and give you a better chance of defending it.
Make your Home more Flame Resistant
If you are building a home in a wildfire prone area, it is smart to consider building your home out of more flame resistant materials like brick or concrete. You can also find ways to incorporate these materials into your home if you are renovating it. Aside from using flame resistant materials, you should also keep fuel sources, like propane tanks, to a minimum on your property and also create a firebreak. Which is basically a stretch of land surrounding your home with nothing on it that can burn.
Make an Emergency Plan and Go Kits
Having an emergency plan in place is a great way to prepare for and survive a wildfire disaster. Take some time to develop an emergency evacuation plan and practice it regularly. And make sure to build some wildfire go kits filled with 3 days worth of supplies you and your loved ones would need to thrive as well as important medical documents, medication and personal identification.
DURING A WILDFIRE
If a wildfire should approach your home, follow your evacuation plan and stay calm. Make sure you are wearing protective clothing (i.e. close toed shoes, long sleeve cotton or wool shirt, and pants), and remember to turn off all gas appliances and leave your sprinklers on as you leave.
Limit your Exposure to Smoke and Dust
If you aren’t forced to evacuate your home, keep inside air clean by keeping doors and windows closed. Make sure to listen for air quality reports, and if you have to drive in your car, remember to use the recycle or re-circulate mode on your air conditioner.
Prepare to Escape
If the time comes for you to flee your home, make sure to choose a downhill route because wildfires move faster uphill. Head toward and travel through areas that have the least amount of fuel to feed the wildfire, and seek safe shelter as soon as possible.
Know What to do if you can’t Leave
Sometimes, escape isn’t an option. If this ever because a situation for you, there are a few things you can do…
- Find a cave, barren crevice, underground hole, or drainage pipe to get in. Lay low and curl up; making sure to cover any exposed skin.
- Dig a trench to lie in and cover your body with a foot of soil. To keep from suffocating as the fire passes over you, make sure to lay face down, create a small pocket under your face to trap oxygen, and hold your breath and close your eyes as the fire passes over you.
- If you are near a body of water, submerge in it as much as possible and wait for the fire to pass.
AFTER A WILDFIRE
Begin to Rebuild
Once a wildfire is over, it’s important to do the following things…
- Don’t return home until you’re told it’s safe to do so.
- Check roofs and attics for lingering hot spots and extinguish them immediately.
- Enter your home with caution. Avoid downed power lines, and keep an eye out for any loose debris.
- Check over all utilities and make sure to consult a professional if any damage has been done.
Wildfires can be a devastating to live through. But if you follow these guidelines you and your loved ones will survive from and thrive after this natural disaster occurs.
DON’T FORGET! You can build your own wildfire emergency kit on the PARA app. So download and login to it today!