Many Californian’s have unfortunately become too aware of the panic and devastation wildfires can bring. We are seeing an increase in the amount of wildfires as well as the length of “Wildfire Season.” Help give your household the best chance of surviving a wildfire by being ready to go and evacuating early. Preparations for a wildfire evacuation (or another emergency, like earthquakes) should start before there is any danger.
Know the Difference Between Evacuation Warning and Evacuation Order
- Evacuation Warning – There is potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now.
- Evacuation Order – There is an immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is closed to public access.
Take Inventory of Your House
Document your possessions both inside and outside the home. Walk around your house and take videos or photos of items in your home which you can provide for insurance purposes if needed. Somethings to consider would be:
- What home improvements have you made?
- What items of value do you have? Electronics, Jewelry, Antiques
Prepare Your House
It is important to prepare your house inside and outside to not only help the house withstand a fire but also to help firefighters. Inside your home you should close all windows and doors, move any flammable materials or furniture away from windows to the center of a room and leave your lights on so firefighters can see through the smoke.
Outside your home it’s best to move propane tanks or flammable objects away from structures, clear leaves and debris, checking on your neighbors and if you have a pool, you can make a sign for the front of your house to let firefighters know there is an extra source of water on your property.
Create A Wildfire Action Plan
Your Wildfire Action Plan must be prepared, and familiar to all members of your household well in advance of a wildfire. While every families plan will be different, depending on a variety of issues, needs, and situations, here are some things to consider:
- A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire area.
- Several different escape routes from your home and community.
- Have an evacuation plan for pets, big and small.
- Designate an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact.
- Have fire extinguishers on hand, train your family how to use them and check expiration dates regularly.
- Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
Have An Emergency Evacuation Bag
It is best to put together your emergency evacuation bag long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs. Make sure it is always easily accessible. Backpacks work great for storing some of these items and are quick to grab when needed. Storing food and water in a tub or chest on wheels will make it easier to transport. Keep it light enough to be able to lift it into your car.
- Face masks or coverings
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
- Seven day supple of prescriptions or special medications
- A few changes of clothing
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Don’t forget pet food and water!
- Easily carried valuables
- Family photos and other irreplaceable items
- Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
- Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
The 6 P’s
If you are faced with an immediate evacuation and put off preparing in advance, remember these 6 “P’s”:
- 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
In current times, remember to ensure you plan with COVID-19 in mind. Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them, should the need arise. If you do need to evacuate and plan to stay with friends or relatives, ask first if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If that is the case, make other arrangements. Check with hotels, motels and campgrounds to learn if they are open. Lastly, always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.
At Arrive Real Estate Group, we are proud to work and live in the Bay Area and hope everyone in our communities stay healthy and safe. Please let us know if there is ever anything we can help with, we are always happy to assist!