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How to Prepare for a Wildfire
It’s no secret, wildfires are increasing in frequency and strength with each passing year. Attributed to a number of man-made and environmental factors, scientists predict that we should plan for longer, drier seasons and an uptick in fire conditions in many fire-prone regions.
While large-scale efforts are being made to reduce the impact of wildfires that affect both urban areas and rural communities, there are still steps homeowners, business owners, families and individuals should take to prepare for wildfire season.
Read on to learn about the actions you can take to keep your family and valuables safe during wildlife season.
Unlike some natural disasters, a wildfire doesn’t just impact electricity or travel – a wildfire can turn your world upside down in a matter of minutes. Because of this, it’s important to plan and prepare for any eventuality.
Wildfire Preparation Checklist
Paperwork & Planning
- Keep Copies of Important Documents
Keep physical copies (in a firebox) or digital copies (on the cloud) of important documents including:
- Social Security cards
- Insurance policies
- Citizenship documents
- Birth certificates
- Medical cards
- Vehicle and property titles
- Deeds, trust or wills
- A home inventory
- Create a Home Inventory
Build a list of all of the items in your home or in other buildings (sheds or barns) on your property. Be sure to carefully document valuables and electronics and their condition. Ideally, this inventory should include photos and/or video footage of the property. Store this list on an external hard drive with other paperwork and documentation in a firebox and/or digitally, in the cloud.
- Understand Your Insurance Policy
Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies will cover 16 common perils including fire or lightning. In the event of a fire, this type of standard coverage will likely include dwelling protection, other structures protection, additional living expenses coverage, liability coverage and medical payments coverage to some degree. The degree of coverage will be detailed in your specific policy.
Get to know your policy and consider additional optional coverage options from your insurance provider prior to the start of wildfire season.
- Plan an Escape Route
Plan an escape route and a backup route from your home. Keep in mind which roads will be navigable in an emergency and consider any pre-determined escape routes from local authorities.
- Sign up for Local Safety Alerts.
Be sure to sign up for safety alerts from your local municipality or county. These organizations will have the most up-to-date information regarding weather conditions, fire locations and evacuations.
Inside Your Home
- Build an Emergency Kit
Even if your property is not directly affected by a wildfire, a wildfire in your region may impact your life. Oftentimes, wildfires will impact the electrical grid, waterlines and emergency services. Keep an emergency kit stocked with non-perishable food items, potable water, a first aid kit, particle masks, batteries, flashlights and other household necessities.
- Pack a Go Bag
The last thing you want to do during an emergency is search for your keys. Keep items you would need in the event of an evacuation (wallet, keys, cash, chargers, medication) in a secure location near your front door.
- Familiarize Yourself with Fire Safety Tactics and Create an Escape Plan
Fire safety, including “Stop, Drop and Roll” doesn’t only apply to household fires, but wildfires, too. Make sure all members of your family understand how to check doors for heat, where fire extinguishers can be found and how to exit the home from any room.
- Test Smoke Detectors and Check Fire Extinguisher Expiration Dates
Make sure your home is equipped with up-to-date fire safety equipment and that members of your household know how to use it.
- Plan for Your Pets
Plan for securing, transporting and taking care of your pets should you be displaced from your home. This plan should include travel carriers, leashes, bowls and food!
Outside Your Home
- Clear Brush and Debris Away from the Home
Dry materials like firewood, branches, dead leaves and even woodchips can spread flames closer to your home.
- Take Stock of Outdoor Furniture and Tools
Consider bringing outdoor furniture, children’s toys, tools and other exterior items into your home or garage for the duration of fire season.
- Keep Hose in Close Range
A hose with a sprinkler can keep small pockets of fire at bay. Keep a hose (or multiple) hooked up and easily accessed by an exterior home door.
Wildfire Preparedness: More Than Meets the Eye
As wildfires continue to ravage large swaths of land in the southern and western portions of the United States and Canada, it’s important that we treat them like the fierce weather patterns they are. Prepare for this year’s wildfire season by running through this checklist and reviewing materials provided by local units of government that are specific to your region.
Choose Rainbow International for Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration
If your home or property has been affected by a wildfire, choose Rainbow International. Our local technicians are equipped to help you remediate damage and recover, quickly. Call 855-724-6269 now for 24/7 emergency service or request an appointment online.