While wildfires are most common in dry conditions, they can occur any time. Because of the unpredictable nature of wildfires, having a plan in place is an important aspect of home wildfire protection. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, consider calling periodic family meetings to review your wildfire preparedness checklist. Make sure everyone knows what to do during a wildfire, including where to go and what to bring if you need to evacuate suddenly.
How to prepare your home for wildfire
Emergency services will fight the wildfire itself. In a wildfire, you should prepare your home and family to act fast when it hits. There are even some ways to prepare your home for wildfire and make it less susceptible when one breaks out. The following wildfire safety tips can help keep you and your family safe:
- Make an emergency evacuation plan.
- Know the available routes away from your home.
- Pack a go-bag with everything from a standard home emergency kit.
- Clear brush and landscaping that can ignite away from your home.
- Keep your gutters clean and clear by removing dry pine needles, leaves, and debris.
Learn more about how homeowners insurance covers wildfires.
What to do during a wildfire
Wildfires can be frightening. Now, it can be challenging to remember what to do. Try to stay calm and remember your plan of action. When you get the news of a wildfire, consult your home wildfire protection and evacuation plan, which should include the following steps:
- Take all evacuation orders seriously. If an order is issued, leave as soon as possible.
- Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants, boots, goggles, and a face cover.
- Grab your go-bag with your home emergency kit.
- Use extreme caution when driving around areas affected by wildfire.
What to do after a wildfire
While it’s tempting to go home as soon as possible to check on your belongings and property, patience is the best strategy after a wildfire. Find a place to stay until you’re sure it’s safe to go home. When you get back to the house, be cautious and check the property thoroughly before you settle back in.
Wait until officials say it’s safe to return home. Remain watchful of potential hotspots in your yard or home. Hot spots may still exist and can flare up without warning. If you still smell smoke, alert authorities and leave the property.