Monday, November 14, 2016

Wildfire Preparedness & Safety

What should I do to prepare ahead of time?

•       Build an emergency kit well in advance:  Don’t forget to include critical documents, medications, and food and water for your entire family.

•       Make a Family Evacuation Plan:  Select a place for family members to meet outside of your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate.  Familiarize yourself with at least two different evacuation routes out of your neighborhood. Practice often, and include everyone in your household.

•       If you or a member of your household is an individual with access or functional needs, including a disability, consider developing a comprehensive evacuation plan in advance with family, care providers and care attendants, as appropriate. Complete a personal assessment of functional abilities and possible needs during and after an emergency or disaster situation, and create a personal support network to assist.

•       Protect your home:  Keep your gutters clean, store firewood and other combustible materials at least 30 feet from your primary dwelling, use fire resistant materials when building decks and porches, and make sure your address is clearly visible from the street or main road.

What should I do if there are reports of wildfires in my area?
•       Stay informed.  Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.

-          Fire Weather Watch:  The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a fire weather watch when potentially   dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 24 to 36 hours.
-          Fire Weather Warning / Red Flag Warning:  A fire weather warning or red flag is issued when fire danger exists and weather patterns that support wildfires are either occurring or expected to occur within the next 12 to 24 hours.

•       Don’t wait, Evacuate!  If ordered to evacuate, leave immediately and head to your identified shelter - this can be with family or friends, or at a hotel, Red Cross shelter or other location you select.

•       Limit exposure to smoke and dust:  
•       Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
•       Use the recycle or recirculate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.  If it is too hot to stay inside with closed windows, seek shelter elsewhere.
•       When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor air pollution.
•       If you have asthma or another lung disease, follow your health care provider’s advice and seek medical care if symptoms worsen.     

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