Wildfire Planning Tips
Before a Wildfire Threatens
- Plan more than one escape route from your home or subdivision by car and by foot.
- Prepare an evacuation kit in your vehicle to be away for at least three days that includes:
- A change of clothes
- Toiletries and comfort items, including any daily medications
- A first-aid kit
- List of important phone numbers (family contacts, insurance agents, etc.) in case your cell phone is not available for use
- Cell-phone charger
- Emergency tools including a battery-powered AM/FM radio, flashlight and extra batteries
- Extra car keys and a credit card, cash, or traveler's checks
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
- An extra pair of eyeglasses / sunglasses
- Pet needs, including bowl, food, leashes and carriers
Important Family Documents
Back up these important family documents by making photocopies or digital copies and store them outside the home, such as at your workplace or with a trusted friend or relative, or on a disk kept in a bank safety-deposit box or stored digitally on a secured website.
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card account numbers and companies
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
- Immunization records
- Important phone numbers
- Insurance policies
- Inventory of valuable household goods
- Social Security cards
Pick two meeting places for your family and make sure everyone in your household knows where to go to be reunited. Examples include:
- A place a safe distance from your home such as a neighborhood park or communal area
- A place outside of your neighborhood in case you can't return to the area of your home, such as a school or recreation center.
Additionally, make sure each person in the household knows how to reach a pre-identified trusted friend or relative living outside the community who can serve as a contact and assist in reunification.
If you are warned that a wildfire is threatening your area:
- Evacuate as soon as you are ready. If there is a wildfire within two miles of your location, do not underestimate the threat that you are facing nor the speed with which a wildfire can move, particularly with flying embers starting "spot" fires ahead of a fire front. DO NOT WAIT TO BE TOLD BY AUTHORITIES TO EVACUATE. They may not have a chance to contact you. It is better to evacuate early; you can always come back once the threat has passed.
- Keep posted by continually monitoring local media (radio and websites) and text- or phone-alert systems such as Summit County Alert and pay attention to the proximity of a wildfire to your home.
- Back your car into the garage or park in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave the key in the ignition.
- Confine pets to one room. Make plans to care for your pets in case you must evacuate.
- Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relative's home outside the threatened area.
- If you have time, you can post a note on your front door informing firefighters that your household has evacuated; this helps them move quickly.
Protect Your Home
If you're sure you have time, take these steps to protect your home inside:
- Close windows, vents, doors, venetian blinds or non-combustible window coverings and heavy drapes.
- Shut off gas or propane. Turn off pilot lights.
- Move flammable furniture into center of the home away from windows and sliding-glass doors.
- Turn on a light in each room to increase the visibility of your home in heavy smoke.
- Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
- Remove gas grills from decks and patios, place propane tanks in garage.
- Place combustible patio furniture inside.
- Connect garden hoses to outside taps, leave in obvious location for firefighters.
- Place a non-combustible ladder on house for access to roof for firefighters.
- Remove firewood or any other stored combustibles near your home.
- Remove all shrubs within 15 feet of your home.
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately and safely
- Wear protective clothing-sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants, long sleeved shirt, gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face.
- Take your evacuation kit.
- Tell someone when you left and where you are going.
- Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.
For more information or if you have any questions, call or stop by any of our fire stations!