Cal Fire Helps You Get Ready, Set, and Go During a Wildfire
In California and all across the west coast, wildfire season comes earlier each year. It is important for us as California residents to always be prepared for a wildfire to threaten our towns and homes.
Cal Fire’s website https://www.readyforwildfire.org/ is a great resource to use to help prepare you and your family for a wildfire. Their preparation is broken down into 3 phases; Ready, Set, Go!
First, you must be ready for a wildfire. Per Cal Fire, this means that you need to “create and maintain defensible space and harden your home against flying embers”.
Creating defensible space around your home consists of 3 zones. The first zone is, Zone 0 (also known as the Immediate Zone) is your home, deck, and other structures on your property. Zone 1 (also known as the Intermediate Zone) extends 30 feet from your home and other structures on your property. Zone 2 (also known as the Extended Zone) is 30 – 100 feet away from your home and other structures on your property.
In order to help make sure that your Zones are ready for fire, you should:
- Use hardscapes like gravel, pavers, concrete, and other non combustible materials around your house.
- Remove all dead and dying weeds, plants, shrubs, trees, branches, and vegetative debris (needles, cones, bark, etc.).
- Regularly trim your trees.
- Cut and mow your grass to keep down to a maximum of 4 inches tall.
For more information about how to prepare your 3 Zones around your house, check out our blog post How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfires.
Second, you must get yourself and your family set for a wildfire. Being set for a wildfire includes:
- Creating a Wildfire Action Plan
- Assembling an Emergency Supply Kit
- Filling out a Family Communication Plan
Cal Fire suggests that your Wildfire Action Plan should include:
- A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area.
- Several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
- Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
You and your family should also have a emergency supply kit ready to go at all times. Your emergency supply kit should include:
- Face masks or coverings
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
- Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
- Prescription or special medications
- Change of clothing
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Supplies for your pet including food and water
If time allows, don’t forget:
- Easily carried valuables
- Family photos and other irreplaceable items
- Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
- Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
It is always a good idea to keep an extra emergency supply kit in your car in the event of a quick evacuation.
Lastly, as you get set for with your Wildfire Action Plan, you should create a Family Communication Plan. This plan designates a single person out of the household to be your families point of contact in the event of separation.
Third, you need to be prepared to go, in the event of a wildfire. Throughout wildfire season, it is important to monitor the States wildfires and to be aware if there are any in your area.
In the event of a fire, you do not need to be notified by authorities to evacuate. You can evacuate at any sign of danger. You should not stay and try to protect your home, you should “Go” and get to safety.
Once emergency officials come by with evacuation orders, you need to leave immediately.
Cal Fire suggests that if time allows you should:
- Review your evacuation checklist
- Load emergency supply kit into your vehicle
- Locate pets and large live stock and load them safely and securely
- Dress to protect yourself from high temperatures, extreme weather, or falling ash. This includes:
- Long pants
- Long sleeve shirt
- Heavy shoes/boots
- Dry bandanna for face cover
- Goggle or glasses
Once you leave your home, be aware of your surroundings. Make sure that you are not driving in the direction of the fire and always make sure that you follow the directions of local law enforcement.
Be safe this fire season and remover to get ready, set, and go!
-The IFS Team