PRE-EVACUATION PREPARATION STEPS
When an evacuation is anticipated, follow these checklists (if time allows) to give your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.
Home Evacuation Checklist – How to Prepare for Evacuation
Inside the House
- Remove flammable window shades/curtains and close metal shutters.
- Remove lightweight curtains.
- Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
- Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights.
- Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
- Shut off the air conditioning.
Outside the House
- Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, doormats, trashcans, etc.) or place them in your pool.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.
- Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill water buckets and place them around the house.
- Do not leave sprinklers on or water running. They can affect critical water pressure.
- Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.
- Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.
- Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.
- Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof.
- Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
- Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation. Do not wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened.
- Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.
- Locate your pets and keep them nearby.
- Prepare farm animals for transport and think about moving them to a safe location early.
TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY WHEN WILDFIRE STRIKES
When immediate evacuation is necessary, follow these steps as soon as possible to get ready to GO!
Evacuation: What to Take and Do
- Review your Evacuation Plan Checklist.
- Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is in your vehicle.
- Cover-up to protect against heat and flying embers. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, cap, dry bandanna for face cover, and goggles or glasses. 100% cotton is preferable.
- Locate your pets and take them with you.
WHEN TO EVACUATE
Leave as soon as evacuation is recommended by fire officials to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion. Do not wait to be ordered by authorities to leave. Evacuating early also helps firefighters keep roads clear of congestion and lets them move more freely to do their job. In an intense wildfire, they will not have time to knock on every door. If you are advised to leave, do not hesitate!
- Officials will determine the areas to be evacuated and escape routes to use, depending upon the fire’s location, behavior, winds, terrain, etc.
- Law enforcement agencies are typically responsible for enforcing an evacuation order. Follow their directions promptly.
- You will be advised of potential evacuations as early as possible. You must take the initiative to stay informed and aware. Listen to your radio/TV for announcements from law enforcement and emergency personnel.
- You may be directed to temporary assembly areas to await transfer to a safe location.
The terms “Voluntary” and “Mandatory” are used to describe evacuation orders. However, local jurisdictions may use other terminology such as “Precautionary” and “Immediate Threat.” These terms are used to alert you to the significance of the danger. All evacuation instructions provided by officials should be followed immediately for your safety.
Do not return to your home until fire officials determine it is safe. Notification that it is safe to return home will be given as soon as possible considering safety and accessibility.
WHEN YOU RETURN HOME:
- Be alert for downed power lines and other hazards.
- Check propane tanks, regulators, and lines before turning gas on.
- Check your residence carefully for hidden embers or smoldering fires.
WILDLAND FIRE SAFETY FOR YOUR PETS
You have taken steps to keep your family and home fire safe. Do not forget your pets. With some advance planning you can increase their chances of surviving a wildland fire.
- Plan ahead. Know where you will take or leave your pets. In case you are not home when disaster strikes, arrange in advance for a neighbor to check on or transport your pets. Make sure your neighbors have your contact numbers (cell phone, work, home, etc.). In the event of evacuation, pets may not be allowed inside human emergency shelters. Have an alternate prearranged location to take your animals.
- Make sure your pets are always wearing properly fitted collars with personal identification and license tags.
- Register and microchip your pet. Be sure to keep your information current. Microchip registries can connect information to your pet’s microchip as well.
- Each animal should have its own pet carrier. Birds, rodents, and reptiles should be transported in cages. Cover cages with a light sheet or cloth to minimize their fear.
- Store vaccination/medical records, veterinary contact information, proof of owner- ship, a current photo, and a Disaster Preparedness Kit in one location.
Pet Disaster Preparedness Kit
- Pet carrier for each pet
- Two week supply of food and water
- Non-spill food and water bowls
- Pet first-aid kit
- Medications and dosing instructions
- Car litter box and litter
- Plastic bags for waste disposal
- Paper towels
- Toys and treats
IF YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR PET
- If you must leave your pets, bring them indoors. Never leave pets chained outdoors!
- Use a room with no windows and adequate ventilation, such as a utility room, garage, bathroom, or other area that can be easily cleaned. Do not tie pets up!
- Leave only dry foods and fresh water in non-spill containers. If possible open a faucet to let water drip into a large container or partially fill a bathtub with water.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE TRAPPED NEAR A WILDFIRE
While in your vehicle:
- Stay calm.
- Park your vehicle in an area clear of vegetation.
- Close all vehicle windows and vents.
- Cover yourself with wool blanket or jacket.
- Lie on vehicle floor.
- Use your cell phone to advise officials—call 911.
While on foot:
- Stay calm.
- Go to an area clear of vegetation, a ditch or depression on level ground if possible.
- Lie face down, cover up your body.
- Use your cell phone to advise officials—call 911.
While in your home:
- Stay calm and keep your family together.
- Call 911 and inform authorities of your location.
- Fill sinks and tubs with cold water.
- Keep doors and windows closed, but unlocked.
- Stay inside your house.
- Stay away from outside walls and windows.