Are You Prepared to Evacuate From a Fire?

With the scope and size of the Sand Fire, still burning in Santa Clarita, focus this fire season should be on preparedness. Give your household the best chance of surviving a wildfire by being ready to go and evacuating early. This includes going through pre-evacuation preparation steps (only if time allows) to increase your home’s defenses, as well as creating a Wildfire Action Plan for your family. Being ready to go also means knowing when to evacuate and what to do if you become trapped. Follow this Home Evacuation Checklist – How to Prepare for Evacuation: Inside the House Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked. 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. Have a list already prepared of what you need to load into the car: family photos, important docutments, etc. Shut off the air conditioning. Outside 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. 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. Don’t 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. Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened. Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave. Animals locate your pets and keep them nearby. Prepare farm animals for transport and think about moving them to a safe location early. For more information on preparing for a wildfire and pre-planning, visit www.readyforwildfire.org.