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The 4 Best Ways to Prepare & Protect Yourself During a Wildfire

Wildfires have become more frequent and destructive in recent years, with experts warning that the effects of climate change will make things worse. The truth is wildfires are an important part of our ecosystem, but if you live in an area prone to fires, you need to be prepared.

During the summer months - usually June to October - the risk of being caught up in a wildfire increases. In fact, according to the U.S. Forest Service, there have already been more than 26,183 fires reported in National Forests in 2022 alone.

If you live in an area where wildfires are common or you happen to be traveling somewhere at peak fire season, it’s important that you know how to survive one if you find yourself caught up in one unexpectedly.

Free Wildfire Preparedness Checklist

Collect your free wildfire preparedness checklist that contains even more tips to protect your family and home! This printer friendly PDF is great to keep on your fridge.

Stay Up to Date

The first thing you should do is stay up to date with your local weather forecast to keep an eye out for any potential fire warnings. During peak fire season, it’s important to pay close attention to the forecast, as even a small change in the weather can significantly increase the risk of wildfires. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the Fire Danger Rating. Areas with a rating of High or Extreme are likely to see wildfires, so it’s important to be extra vigilant during this time.

Evacuate if You Can’t Stay Safe

If you can’t get out of the area safely or you see that there’s no way to escape the fire, evacuate immediately. If you’re indoors, make sure you have your emergency evacuation plan in place, and know exactly where to go if there’s a fire in your building. If you can’t get out safely, stay in a room with no windows, close the door and seal any cracks or vents with towels. Make sure you have a way to escape the building, such as a fire escape ladder or a window that isn’t blocked by flames. If you’re outdoors, find somewhere to shelter that isn’t near trees or other flammable structures. Make sure you’re at least 100 feet away from the flames, and if you can, seek shelter in a nearby building.

Protect Yourself with Breathing Masks

If a fire is approaching, you’ll want to make sure you have the protective gear to keep you safe, both externally and internally. Most importantly, make sure you have an air filter or respirator mask to protect you from the smoke. The smoke from a wildfire is incredibly toxic and can cause severe health issues and even death if you don’t protect yourself. According to the United States Fire Administration, the smoke from a wildfire can be just as deadly as the flames, and accounts for between 10% to 20% of wildfire deaths each year. If you don’t have or can’t get a respirator mask, an air filter mask will do. Make sure you keep the air flow turned on, and make sure you replace it regularly to ensure its keeping out all the toxins in the smoke.

Don't Try and Put the Fire Out Yourself

You may be tempted to try to put out the fire yourself, but firefighters will always prioritize saving people over trying to save property. If you see a fire nearby, don’t try to put it out yourself, especially if there’s more than one fire burning. Instead, find out where the nearest fire station is and report the fire immediately. They’ll have the proper equipment to extinguish the fire and save lives. If you do try to put out the fire yourself, you could end up causing more damage, or even make the fire worse by spreading it to other areas. You also risk getting injured or worse if you try to put out the fire without the proper equipment.

Final Words

Wildfires can be devastating and can spread quickly, becoming life-threatening in a matter of seconds. That’s why it’s imperative to take the proper steps in order to stay prepared. HomeSheet is a simple home inventory tool that will make this process easier for you and it's the perfect solution to record high value items, track any serial numbers, or upload pictures of your belongings.

With HomeSheet, you can easily store all these documents in one place, and rest assured that they will be there for you when you need them the most.

Free Wildfire Preparedness Checklist

Collect your free wildfire preparedness checklist that contains even more tips to protect your family and home! This printer friendly PDF is great to keep on your fridge.

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