Are You Prepared to Evacuate in a Wildfire?

Last night I heard two rounds of emergency vehicles drive past. Busy night for our public responders. What if that was a wildfire and I was told we would need to leave within an hour? What can I do to ensure that my house is more likely to survive?

Here are some handy Pre-Evacuation Preparation Steps.

Outside the House

  1. Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, etc.) or place them in your pool.

  2. Turn off propane tanks.

  3. Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.

  4. Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill water buckets and place them around the house.

  5. Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running; they can affect critical water pressure.

  6. Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.

  7. Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.

  8. Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.

  9. Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof.

  10. Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.

  11. Monitor your property and the fire situation. Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened and need to leave. 

  12. Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave

Inside the House

  1. Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.

  2. Remove flammable window shades and curtains. Close metal shutters.

  3. Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.

  4. Shut off gas at the meter. Turn off pilot lights.

  5. Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.

  6. Shut off the air conditioning.

Animals

  1. Locate your pets and keep them nearby.

  2. Think about moving them to a safe location early