Editor's Note: Watch for a detailed Online Course from Paul Purcell on wildfires soon. In the meantime, be sure to read the article on wildfires in the Summer 2013 issue of Living Ready.
With the worst wildfires in the history of Colorado charring the Centennial State, many are on the hunt for solid wildfire preparedness tips should the worst happen in their area. Living Ready tapped Paul Purcell, author of Disaster Prep 101, for these wildfire preparedness tips from his renowned book.
Wildfire Preparedness Tips: Bugging Out
Let's discuss a a few considerations to keep in mind if a fire is outside your home and threatening your property. We'll use the scenario of an approaching wildfire with several hours notice.
Do things in this order:
- Prep the family to evacuate
- Set up any water pumping and spray gear you might have
- Shut down and seal the house
- Perform any last minute protective landscaping
- Load any valuables or heirlooms that will fit in your vehicles
- Protect valuables and heirlooms that have to be left behind
Note: These steps are all time sensitive. Any fire in your area should be monitored so you'll know exactly how much time you have. Anything less than two hours, perform only numbers 1 and 7.
Use the acronym W.I.L.D. to remember what to do in advance of a wildfire.
Wildfire Preparedness Tips: Detailed Preps
- Keep a small bug out kit away from home during wildfire season in case something should happen to your home while you're away.
- Conduct fire drills at home and ask that they be conducted at work. Make it a habit to learn all the fire exit locations of any building, structure or vehicle you or your family frequent. (Don't forget schools)
- If you live or work in a tall building above the 10th floor, examine alternate escape methods in case all exits are blocked by fire. Fire truck ladders are limited to about the 10th floor. Getting down from anything higher will be up to you.
- It's a good idea to have these tools on hand: shovel, heavy rake, axe, sledge hammer, chain saw and enough garden hose to reach from two separate water sources to the farthest side of your house or yard. They can be used for any number of wildfire responses.
- Do your best to keep flammable material away from the exterior of your home. Same goes for the windows on the inside of the house.
- Don't keep your keys inside your bug-out vehicle. You never know who might panic and be in desperate search of a way out of the area. Keep your keys secured to a belt or on a neck chain.
- Create a threat map to identify evacuation routes.
Whatever you do, do things in advance of the fire to protect your home and do not stick around to fight a wildfire. Small grass fires, maybe, but not a full wildfire or forest fire.
Your Wildfire Preparedness Ideas
Wildfire preparedness certainly doesn't end with this list. For example, this free wildfire app from the Red Cross issues real-time alerts to your mobile device.
If you live in wildfire territory, what are some of the preps you do to be ready?