Disaster Prep Summer Series: Wild Fire

Good Afternoon Everyone!
Today we are talking wildfires!

Photo by Joe Wolf

Wildfires can happen anywhere.
If you live in a wildfire prone area like San Diego for example (thats where I live!) then you have what is called Wildfire Season over the summers.  If you don't live in a Wildfire prone area, then pay attention to your local news and be aware of the local conditions for the coming summer.  Remember, don't think that just because you don't live in a fire prone area doesn't mean a wildfire cannot happen.  All it takes is some dry vegetation and something as little as someone throwing a lit cigarette butt out of a car window to start a devastating fire. San Diego is experiencing a bad drought this year so we are expecting wildfires to be worse than usual this year. Being aware gives you time to time to make some important preparations to help protect your home and property.

Preparing for a wildfire
The first thing to do is to evaluate the land surrounding your property.  Research fire resistant landscaping options.  Select plants that have a high moisture content and consider covering bare spaces with gardens or gravel to create a fire break.  Local landscaping contractors can help point you in the right direction.
Make sure you store flammable items like fuel or propane in approved containers and store them a safe distance from any buildings.
Keep any dead plants or grass cleared off the property as it will burn much faster than green plants.
Make sure your evacuation plans and 72 hour kits are updated and ready to go.

Get your fee ASPCA sticker here.

I also recommend having decals or stickers like the one shown here posted in at least one ground floor window on each side of your house as well as your doors.  Fire fighters are trained to look for these and will attempt to rescue your pets if they are still inside.

If neighborhoods in your area are being evacuated and or if there is a fire in your area, start loading your car NOW.  Do NOT wait until you get evacuation orders to start preparing.  If you are away from home, head that way.  If you are out of town, make sure you have discussed with your neighbors and or house/pet sitters what to do if there is a wildfire and call to check that they are aware of the situation.  Have your pets rounded up and your children dressed.

Once your car is packed, start closing down your house.
  • Move any flammable items from outside away from the house or throw into your pool if you have one. 
  • Make sure all sprinklers and water inside is turned off to help keep the water pressure up for fire fighters. 
  • Shut off gas at the meter and extinguish all pilot lights.
  • Remove any pet decals from your windows (the firefighters will try to rescue your pets if they think they are inside, so remove them before you leave with your pets)
  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked to protect against looters.
  • Close all window blinds and curtains.
  • Connect water hoses and leave them out where firefighters or emergency personnel can find them if they need them.  Leave the water turned off.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!