How to Evacuate Safely in Wildfires
During the rapid spread and growth of random wildfires throughout the state of California, it is essential to have an evacuation plan in place. It is already a stressful enough situation and having a game plan can help you maintain a peace of mind and focus on the task at hand. Here are some tips to help you in the unfortunate scenario there is a wildfire.
- Ensure You Are Prepared
While not every scenario allows for adequate preparation, it is essential that you have some form of physical preparations. This would include bottled water, calorie dense non-perishable foods, flashlights, and some form of simple shelter from the elements. These preparations should be enough for you and your family for at minimum three days. They should be simple and lightweight. You should be able to throw them into a backpack or two and then a small tent or some other temporary shelter if you are displaced for an extended period of time. Keep your gas tank full on your vehicle as well and only use verified evacuation routes. Trying to use side roads or less traveled roads can be dangerous and could leave you stranded.
- Communicate with Your Family
This may seem like a simple enough task or something which your mother used to tell you. However, it is paramount that your family and household know what the steps are to safely evacuate and how you can all work together to make this happen. Each person will have a different role. If everyone is aware of the plan you can help to keep everyone calm and you can essentially go into an autopilot mode.
- Make a Checklist
A simple system to help ensure an effective evacuation plan is a checklist. When you have a list make sure it is short and simple. The goal is to ensure that you are able to evacuate safely and prepared. Ultimately the goal is to protect yourself and your loved ones. In the case that you do not feel fully prepared, but a fire is near you are better off leaving unprepared and unscathed.
- Turn Off all External Pipes or Power Sources
This would include your water, gas, and electric lines. Generally, this can help prevent further damage to the home or safety hazards for fire fighters. If not done properly a wildfire fire could ignite a gas leak or rupture a line and cause a catastrophic explosion. Exposed electrical wires can also cause further damage to the building.
- Stay Updated and Informed
The most important tool at your disposal during times like these is information. With the correct information you can avoid peril and hardship by days. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you take the warnings of your local authorities and news agencies to heart for your safety and those around you.