Over a dozen states are at risk in the current climate of increased severity and occurrence of wildfires. They’re happening all over the United States and other countries as well. What would you do if you found yourself, your family, or your home surrounded by incoming flames?
If You’re In a Vehicle
If you’re already in your vehicle, or you can escape in your vehicle when you see the signs of fire, which would include smoke, burning embers, or the fire itself, the best thing you have is a plan in place. Driving away like mad simply won’t work, especially because getting involved in any vehicle accidents along the way would hinder your progress.
The knowledge that there are wildfires in your area or there is a risk of them happening should alert you to prepare. In your planning you should have at least a couple of pre-determined routes in mind. These routes should include areas that are clear of vegetation in case you can’t make your way out.
In your car, have respirator masks and an emergency supply kit. If you have to stop, close all the windows and cover everyone with jackets or blankets. Also, get low on the floor.
If You’re on Foot
It’s not uncommon to encounter wildfires when hiking. Again, if you see signs such as smoke and embers, find a place that’s clear of vegetation. A wildfire can consume grasses and trees in mere seconds.
It’s probably not likely that you can outrun the fire on foot. If you feel the fire is closing in on you, be aware of your surroundings before you find a ditch or dig a hole and lie face down and covered up. Call for help and give a precise description of your location.
If You’re in Your Home
If there are wildfires in the area, the best thing you can do is leave your home until the danger passes. Have the car ready to leave, with keys in the ignition, windows closed, and preferably parked in an unlocked garage so no smoke can enter
If you can’t get away from your home fill sinks and tubs with water. Also, fill any outdoor buckets and large storage containers with fire. These water stations give you fast access to water so you can fight off flames and embers.
Keep your home’s doors and windows closed, and stay away from exterior walls. Take down any flammable window coverings, but keep blinds to protect against heat.
Keep garden hoses ready and keep watch until the danger has passed. Watch for embers outside your home and on the roof. Extinguish them as they drift in.
Places to Avoid
When danger is imminent, always avoid places with lots of vegetation. You should also avoid traveling through any canyons, as these areas can become consumed in fire as it is spread rapidly by breeze or wind.
The growing risk of wildfires is a reality for many residents of the United States and beyond. Talk about fire safety with your family and make sure everyone knows what to do in any of the above situations.