UNDERSTANDING WILDLAND FIRES
BEING PREPARED FOR A DISASTER
Many big fires are caused by small mistakes!
- Stay with your BBQ while cooking outdoors
- Put cigarettes out cold, don’t throw them out the window or on the ground
- Drown and stir campfires until it is cold to the touch
- Be careful when burning weeds and debris, monitor it at all times
PREPARING YOUR HOME
- Clean debris from your roof and cutters
- Clear leaves, pine needles and tree bark away from structures
- Store firewood at least 30 feet away from structures
- Trim grass and brush creating a cleared area around propane tanks
- Thin, trim, and cut trees, shrubs and grass 30-100 feet from your home
BE PREPARED TO GO, BE PREPARED TO STAY
- The safest place for your family is some-where that is not threatened by a fire. By planning ahead you can be prepared to evacuate or stay. If you evacuate remember the most important things:
- Important papers, like birth certificates, tax records, insurance information
- Pets, pet food, pet dishes, leashes and pet carriers
- Phone, chargers and phone numbers of people you will need to call
- Have your to go bags all ready for each member of your family
- If you shelter in place: If evacuating is not the safest thing to do, you may be safer to stay in your home (or your neighbor’s home) if any of these conditions exist:
- Your only escape route goes into the fire
- Smoke is so thick you can’t see where you are going and you don’t know where the fire is
- The fire is so close or is moving so fast that you do not have time to evacuate safely
- Emergency personnel (in person or by phone) recommend that you stay
Talk to your family about potential disasters and the necessity to be prepared for them. Involve each member of your family in the planning process. Simple steps can increase their safety and reduce anxiety about emergencies. Take into account the special needs of children, seniors, or people with disabilities. Decide where your family will go in case you are evacuated or you decide to leave on your own. Before you leave, notify someone that you are leaving and what route you will be taking. Take your pets, or make arrangements for them before you go. When you leave, lock your home and shut off gas/propane, and notify local authorities so they know you are gone and how they may reach you if necessary. When you arrive at your designation let your friends/family know you arrived safely.
72 HOUR PREPAREDNESS
The very basic level of preparedness is planning for 72-hours. Keep enough supplies on hand that you and each member of your family can survive on for three days. Disasters do not have to be something dramatic. It can be being snowed in for a few days or simply having no utilities to your home can be a life threatening situation.
What to put in a kit:
Here are some simple steps you can take to get prepared in case of emergency or natural disaster.
First, choose a container that can withstand damages and one you can seal shut. Backpacks are a good choice for each member of the family that contains clothing and personnel items just for each member.
Store food items that are familiar to your family rather than buying special emergency food items. Consider any dietary restrictions and preferences you may have. Ideal foods are: Shelf-stable (no refrigeration required), low in salt, and do not require cooking (e.g. canned fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, jam, low-salt crackers, cookies, cereals, nuts, dried fruit, canned soup or meats, juices and non-fat dry milk). Mark a rotation date on any food container that does not already have an expiration date on the package. Include baby food and formula or other diet items for infants or seniors. Store the food in airtight, pest-resistant containers in a cool, dark place. Most canned foods can safely be stored for at least 18 months. Low acid foods like meat products, fruits or vegetables will normally last at least 2 years. Use dry products, like boxed cereal, crackers, cookies, dried milk or dried fruit within six months.
After a power outage, refrigerated food will stay cold longer if you keep the door closed. Food should generally be consumed within 4 hours. Food in the freezer will normally remain safe for 2 days.
Go-bags should be made for each member of the family. Keep them in a place that has been identified so everyone will know where they are. You may not be at home when a disaster strikes, so it is important to keep a go-bag in your car with what you would need just for immediate safety. Keep your items seasonal, so you are prepared for the weather.
Ideas for a go-bag:
- Radio – battery operated
- Pocket knife
- Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
- Some water and food
- List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
- List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
- Copy of health insurance and identification cards
- Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
- Prescription medications and first aid supplies
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Extra keys to your house and vehicle
- Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets.
|Some Useful Websites:
|Arizona Fire Information:
How to Properly Put Out a Camp Fire
REDUCING WILDFIRE RISK
The goal of an effective wildfire protection plan is to keep the fire from coming dangerously close to any building on the property. Once ignited, the building itself can become a source of radiant heat, flames and embers that can ignite combustible materials and buildings or neighboring properties. An IBHS post-fire study and other research have shown that buildings located less than 15 feet apart are particularly vulnerable to this type of fire spread. If a building has combustible siding, such as wood, vinyl or other types of plastic, good defensible space will reduce the fire hazard. If the wildfire is allowed to come close to or reach the building and ignite the siding, flames can quickly spread up the wall, potentially breaking glass in windows and spreading into the building, or up into the eaves and burn into the attic.
|Think of anything surrounding or attached to a building as a potential wick that can bring flames to the house. This might include something as unassuming as a storage shed or the stack of fire wood that under normal circumstances would make for an inviting indoor environment. Remember wind-driven embers, not flames from the wildfire, are the biggest threat to homes properties during a wildfire. Once these embers land on and ignite combustible materials, the potential for the wildfire to spread is much greater.
|Defensible Space Zones
Locking the front door, installing a security system and adding motion-detection lighting are all things security experts recommend for keeping intruders out. Think of your defensible space zones the same way. Each zone acts as a layer of protection between your house or business and the approaching wildfire. Keep in mind, though, just as with home security systems, these zones are only effective if they are properly maintained.