Every year there are wild fires. Some are worse than others. Recently, a couple towns in California have been abolished because of wild fires. You hear about them a lot in California and Oregon, but they can happen anywhere, especially places that are extremely dry. Many wild fires happen from open fires that get out of control or maybe it happens because someone throws a cigarette out of the window.
There’s only so much that firefighters can do. They need water/suppressant and they need to shovel out a fire line so that the fire stops spreading. However, all of that takes time. Access to water or fire suppressants can be scarce and/or difficult to get to, the location of the fire could be difficult to get to, the actual fire could be so out of control that it’s a struggle to get under control and people making a fire line takes time; it all takes time.
So while they are working to extinguish the fire, it’s up to individuals to understand the risks that there could be if the fire extends to the point where they must evacuate their homes.
1. Your life is more important than stuff – I want to make this the very first tip because while I fully understand that it can be difficult to leave your home and all your stuff behind, it’s far more important to save your life and the life of those you love. Get yourself and your pets out of the area if you feel threatened by the wild fire or if you’ve been told to evacuate.
2. Get a go kit ready – A go kit, bug out bag, emergency kit, whatever you want to call it, is essential when it comes to evacuating your home. You need a go kit made for each person in the household, including pets, that includes: water, food, flashlight, extra clothes, sleeping system (such as sleeping bag, tent, etc), cook set, cell phone external charging banks and much more. Take a look at my bug out bag checklist to get more ideas on what could go into your go kits. A go kit makes it easy to simply grab the bag and leave your home without wasting a lot of time. It’s okay to grab a few extra items as you’re packing up, but the majority of your important items will be in your go kit.
3. Keep all important documents together – Get all of your important documents together in one binder. The type of important documents might include: passports, home insurance information (or renters insurance information), car insurance information, birth certificate(s), medical documents, important phone numbers, any important photos you’d like to make sure get saved. You could also keep most if not all this information on a thumb drive, as well as with the paper documents. You could also take a video tour of your home that showcases everything that’s inside and outside of your home, for insurance purposes.
4. Make an emergency disaster plan – It’s incredibly important that every household has an emergency disaster plan. This plan would state exactly what everyone in the household would do in case of certain emergencies or disasters. I have an ebook on how to make an emergency disaster plan that tells you step-by-step on how to make one. Everyone should have a copy and a copy should be put in plain sight of everyone, such as on the fridge.
5. Know alternative routes – In the event of an evacuation, major routes could no longer be a viable option. This means that you must know alternative routes so that you can safely and quickly evacuate. The best way to do this is to simply get in the car and drive around. Discover roads that can get you to safety that maybe aren’t main roads. If there is a designated evacuation route, do take note of it, but just remember that it may not be an option in an emergency. Make sure to have a paper map handy in the vehicle in case your phone’s GPS isn’t working.
A little bit of planning now will create a lot less stress later if you ever do have to evacuate. Remember that in these extremely tough times, it’s a good idea to have a support system.
Bonus tip: If you have children, try to keep your stress levels low and keep control of the situation as best as you can. If your children are old enough to help out, have them carry their own bags to the car or play games with them in the car as you evacuate. Don’t lie to them about what’s going on, but we also don’t want to scare them, either. You know your kids best and how to handle them. As adults, it’s up to us to be in control of the situation and keep a handle on our emotions.
Conquer tomorrow, by preparing today.