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Fire Season Safety and Preparedness Tips

Tips for Wildfire and House Fire Preparedness - Emergency Essentials

Wildfire season has already started, and high-profile fires have already started in California and Colorado in the last several weeks.

This news article gives great tips and suggestions for preventing wildfires and house fires—practical tips, and some I hadn't thought of before, including where you park your car when you’re out and about. Click here to read all 8 tips in the original article. Here’s my favorite:

Target shooting
Did you know that by July of 2012, 20 fires had been started last year by target shooters, including the Dump Fire, which burned 5,507 acres and cost $2.1 million to fight? The heat of bullets mixed with the hot, dry earth can be a very dangerous mix. Consider either visiting indoor shooting ranges or taking a couple months off from target shooting during the summer.

Another tip includes having an evacuation plan. Your plan should include an emergency kit, bug out bag, or go bag, as well as a meeting place away from the house where everyone can meet in case of an emergency evacuation.

Maryn McKenna shared her first-hand experience with an unexpected fire via Wired Magazine in her article, The Risks You Don’t Think of: A Plea to Pack a ‘Go Bag.’ She and her husband packed for a possible evacuation from their home because of a tree that had fallen on an electrical transformer next to their house. They packed their bags, and ultimately didn’t need them. Here’s what she said about her packing:

To be honest, I give myself a C. I grabbed the cat’s food and dishes, but didn’t think to take the medication I give her twice a day. I took all the devices that access my stuff in the cloud, but didn’t recall that I keep some things out of the cloud for security; I should have taken the external back-up that sits on my desk. And, if things went very bad, I might have had a hard time dealing with the details; I relied on having web-based banking, but I didn’t think to take the phone or account numbers for any of the utilities. And I committed those fails despite minimal things to distract me: my spouse (aviation engineer) and I (epidemics and disasters journalist, pilot) are pretty accustomed to emergencies; we had only one pet to wrangle; and we didn’t have any small children or mobility-challenged elders to keep calm. And, most fortunate of all, we ended up not having to run.

In the case of a large-scale evacuation, you will most likely have a few minutes to pack (versus a home fire where you need to evacuate immediately), but only a few. Keep emergency kits, important documentation, and precious keepsakes or photos where they can be packed quickly; that will help ease the stress of an evacuation and leave you with the assurance that you got everything vital out of the house.

Think you’ll be able to “wing it” when an evacuation order comes knocking at your door? Evacuation: The 10 Minute Challenge, a video created by the Insurance Information Institute, shows the difference planning ahead will make—because those ten minutes will go by a lot more quickly than you’d expect:

Get ready now for the possibility of a house fire or short-notice evacuation. Check out our pre-assembled emergency kits, get an escape ladder for each second-story bedroom, and learn more of the basics for Before, During, and After a fire in our Insight Article about Emergency Fire Safety.

Be careful this summer, and stay safe!

--Urban Girl


P.S. I have my own tip for you. A couple of years ago we had a kitchen fire at my house (and no, I’m not the one who started it). We started chatting with the firemen who came, and they said that many house fires are started by toasters that short out in the middle of the night. So keep those electronics unplugged when you’re not using them.

One thought on “Fire Season Safety and Preparedness Tips”

  • Lauralee Hensley
    Lauralee Hensley June 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    If taking hikes make sure to pick up any wrappers that have a metallic sheen to them or any glass that you may break as these can sometimes reflect light and on dry leaves, grass, etc., can possibly start fires. If you live in a neighborhood with watering restrictions be on the outlook for these and pick them up and throw them away. Also don't hang glass bird feeders or shiny or glass wind chimes that can reflect light and possibly start a fire, especially don't hang them in trees over dry grass. If you have a tree that gets hit by lightening (we did last year), make sure that no fire is smoldering in it days later. It may not look burned on the outside, but still good to run a hose over a branch with a small blackened area the next day. We did on one branch that had a small black spot on it where the lightening hit last year. Then the next day we made sure to run a hose over that area for about a half an hour. This year we had to cut the branch out as it never got leaves on it and we knew it was dead. When we cut the branch off, inside for over two feet in each direction and around the whole inside circumference for about an inch depth, it was burned black. You would not have known from the outside bark on that branch that it had burned that much from the lightening strike, as the outside bark looked normal except for about a half dollar size black mark. We knew the tree got hit by lightening because we actually saw the bolt of lightening hit, shook our whole house, and the thunder was mega loud. We've had lightening hit the ground in our back yard more than once.

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