With wildfire threatening Washington State, DNR wants you to be prepared

wildfireThe Taylor Bridge Fire has closed roads, threatened homes, and has forced many communities to evacuate. While firefighters battle this fire, we want to share a message from a longtime nationally recognized Firewise Community/USA to keep you safe this fire season. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part- here’s something you can do to get ready while you wait. The city of Perry Park, Colorado has devised the “P’s of Preparedness” to remember in case an immediate evacuation is required in your area.

  • People and Pets
  • Papers, phone numbers and important documents
  • Prescriptions vitamins and eyeglasses
  • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
  • Personal computers (information on hard drive and disks)
  • Plastic (credit cards, ATM cards, and cash)
  • Patience

People and pets
When it comes to evacuating your family safely, you need to plan ahead. Do you know at least two routes out of your community? Where is your meeting place and how will you contact each other? Where will your pets stay if you can’t return to your home? Do you have food and water in an emergency kit to keep you, your family, and your pets healthy if you can’t get to supplies? Firewise.org has many publications available to help you get ready for the threat of a fire. Make sure you talk about your disaster plan with your family and practice evacuation drills. Giving tasks to older children can help keep them calm if an emergency strikes and the routine will help everyone evacuate quickly. Post emergency telephone numbers in a visible place and go over what your children should do if they are home alone when an evacuation is ordered. FEMA has great guidelines to help you start your disaster plan and build an emergency preparedness kit today.

Papers, phone numbers, and important documents
If a wildfire strikes your community and you are forced to evacuate, you don’t want to be running around the house looking for all your important documents. Evacuation is emotional enough without you desperately digging through your papers for your husband’s birth certificate. Keep deeds, birth certificates, vehicle titles, and other irreplaceable documents in one location, and look through your papers frequently to make sure everything is up to date.

Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
It can be easy for prescriptions and vitamins to spread across the house with daily use, but during an evacuation pharmacies and drug stores may be closed or out of the items you may need. Keep extra allergy medicine, supplements, vitamins, and prescriptions in a plastic bin or bag that will be easy for you to grab as you hurry out the door. Make sure you include emergency supplies such as diabetes medication, emergency asthma inhalers, and EpiPens in your evacuation kit.

Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
Even during an evacuation, no one wants to fathom the possibility of losing their home to wildfire. Should tragedy occur, the loss will be softened if you can save irreplaceable memorabilia. Your decorative marriage certificate may not have legal importance, but can hold priceless meaning for you and your family. Giving each person in the home a bin to fill with the things they want to take with them will ease the stress and anguish of leaving home behind.

Personal computers (information on hard drive and disks)
Make a digital copy of family photos, important documents, and business papers that can be downloaded onto an easy-to-carry flash drive or external hard drive. Make sure to back-up household computers in case you have to leave in a hurry. Also, keep any laptops with their chargers so they can be easily loaded for evacuation.

Plastic (credit cards, ATM cards, and cash)
It is a very good idea to keep an extra credit card, cash, and a book of checks in the same place you store your important documents. You don’t know how many times you will have to fill your gas tank, or how many nights you may have to stay in a hotel.

Patience
Evacuation and the uncertainty that comes with it will be stressful. The process will be easier for everyone involved if they have a familiar system to follow. If you stay calm, it will help keep your children and animals calm as well.

Visit the Firewise FAQs page and the Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program for more information about wildfire safety and what you can do before a fire strikes to be prepared.

Check out the DNR Burn Map to view the fire danger in your area and stay connected with this year’s wildfire season on the DNR_Fire Twitter feed.

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One Response to “With wildfire threatening Washington State, DNR wants you to be prepared”

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