Summers in California have been getting drier and hotter each year, and the trend does not seem to be slowing down. We are experiencing fires on a large scale, which tend to spread at an alarmingly fast rate. With the threat of fires on the rise, it is more important than ever to have a plan in place for preparation and evacuation. One of the best ways to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency evacuation is to create a checklist ahead of time of things that need to be done.
Evacuations orders can happen within a moments notice. Because of this, it is best to have all of the necessary items packed and ready to go ahead of time, and placed in a location that is easy to access in the event of an emergency. Below is a list of items to include in your emergency evacuation kit:
1. Several days worth of clothing. You’ll want to make sure you include several pairs of socks, undergarments, and shoes as well.
2. A first aid kit and toiletries (tooth brushes, deodorant, etc.)
4. Important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
5. Any items necessary for taking care of pets (medications, food, carrier, and a water bowl)
6. Chargers for electronics (pro tip: have portable phone chargers fully charged and ready to go at all times in case of emergencies or power outages)
7. Batteries and flashlights
8. Snacks and water (it is important to make sure the snacks are non-perishable, and ideally at least a gallon of water per person per day. You want to aim for three days worth of food and water supply)
9. Valuables and sentimental items that may be irreplaceable (it is a good ideas to digitize all photo albums and place on a thumb drive or in a cloud online where they cannot be lost and can be easily accessed from any computer/device)
10. A map (yes, a physical one) with evacuation routes marked out.
11. A multi-purpose tool and two way radios. (if the multi-purpose tool does not have a can opener, make sure you bring one)
12. If you have larger animals, such as horses, cattle, etc., you might want to consider prepping trailers long before the threat of evacuation reaches your house, or evacuating them early as a precaution.
13. Dust masks to help filter contaminated air.
14. A whistle (in case you need to signal for help) and a hand radio (hand crank is preferable over battery powered).
15. Cash, securely put away in the emergency kit, or traveler’s checks.
Keep any canned food in cool, dry places. Boxed and dried foods should be placed in airtight containers. Don’t forget to consistently check your food items and replace the expired ones as needed. It is recommended that you reevaluate your emergency kit at least once a year (if not more), to change your kit according to any changes in your family or your family’s needs.
Ways to prepare for a fire evacuation
Some emergencies can occur quickly and with little to no notice, so it is important to be prepared to move quickly. Here are some ways to better prepare yourself to move quickly and efficiently when needing to evacuate:
1. Keep a full tank of gas in you car. (We know it can be hard with everyday life going on, but try to keep it full, or at least as full as you can[don’t go below a half tank])
2. Back into your driveway to make leaving easy and quick.
3. Make sure your cell phones are kept fully charged.
4. Clear and remove as many items around your house that may be flammable as possible. This can include, but is not limited to dry brush, patio furniture, dry grass, etc.
5. Keep everything in your house documented and photographed for purposes relating to replacement and insurance.
6. Plan out in detail how your exit strategy and where you will go in the event of an evacuation. It is important to make sure all members of the family are aware of this plan.
7. Keep the emergency pack we talked about above in an easy to access location. You need to be able to grab it and load it with you at a moment’s notice.
8. Keep a smaller and lighter emergency kit in your car, for extreme emergencies.
What to do if you are forced to evacuate
If the moment comes where you are forced to evacuate from your home, there are several action items you will want to perform prior to leaving your residence, IF time permits.
1. Turn off the gas in your home.
2. Leave on all the lights. This allows fire fights to better locate your home even in smokey conditions.
3. Don’t hesitate when given evacuation orders. Leave immediately and follow your evacuation strategy to ensure a quick, safe exit. If you feel the need, leave before you are given the evacuation order.
Here at Clean Earth Restorations, we know evacuation warnings can be scary, and we know that being prepared is the best way ensure your family’s safety and well-being. For more tips on fire evacuation preparation or fire damage restoration services, give us a call at 888-471-6653, or visit our website at cleanearthrestorations.com.