Wildfire Safety: Are You Prepared?

Wildfire season is fast approaching. As in years past, Eastern Washington and surrounding areas will be once more affected by forest fires. However, there are several tips and tricks for staying safe (and smart) during this upcoming wildfire season.

Washington, unlike most states, goes through five different seasons throughout the year; winter, spring, summer, fall, and smoke season. With this year’s smoke season approaching soon, it’s essential to stay aware and prepared in case of a wildfire emergency. Wildfire season, for Washington, can occur anywhere between early July through late August. Below are several tips and tricks to help you throughout this smokey season. For more information on the following tips, view this link: https://www.ready.gov/wildfires

Know How to Evacuation
While wildfires don’t have a predictable pattern, it’s still indispensable to have an exit route in case of emergency. Most often, local authorities will guide individuals away from a wildfire. It’s also important to have a plan of evacuation for your animals and livestock. 

Learn more about emergency management in your area by going to:
Spokane County: https://www.spokanecounty.org/4579/Emergency-Management
Stevens County: https://www.stevenscountywa.gov/emergency.aspx

Prepare Your Property
Preparing your property for a wildfire, Ready.Gov suggests creating a fire resistant zone at least thirty feet around your home. Creating this zone limits the fire’s ability to spread quickly to your home, allowing time for emergency evacuation. In addition, Ready.gov also suggests finding a resource of water that can be accessible throughout your property in case of an emergency.

Learn more about preparing your property by going to: https://www.wunderground.com/prepare/wildfire

Locate Important Documents
In the event of an emergency important documents such as passports, social security cards, and insurance policies should be easily accessible. Having these documents in a secure and easily obtained area can increase the likelihood of their survival in an emergency evacuation. Having access to these documents is crucial, uploading these documents in a secure digital location will guarantee their safety in the event of a fire. For more information on this topic, visit: https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/fema_safeguard-critical-documents-and-valuables.pdf

Gather Beneficial Supplies
Beneficial supplies in the event of a wildfire include (but are not limited to) band-aids, burn cream, water bottles, facial protections, portable chargers, an extra change of clothes, and footwear. Having a first-aid kit stored in a car and house limits the worry of not having any medical supplies at hand. Prepare a Go Bag for each person, for more details see: https://www.rotarywildfireready.com/emergency-go-bag.html

Discuss Possibilities
In the past 15 years alone, 2,559 structures in Washington have been destroyed due to wildfires. When wildfires start, talk with your family about the scenarios fires may cause, along with the procedures that your family will take in order to stay protected and safe. The Red Cross organization has created animations that teach kids about wildfires and safety precautions. To read for yourself or to show your kids, click the following link. https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/teaching-kids-about-emergency-preparedness/prepare-with-pedro.html 

Sources:

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