California has reached the peak season for wildfire activity. Northern California’s Kincaid fire has burned an area more than twice the size of San Francisco. It is approximated that the Kincaid Fire has burned over 75,000 acres with a 15% containment. Southern California has also been affected with the Getty Fire, with 656 acres burned and a 15% containment. Unfortunately, California is known all-too-well for being prone to wildfires. It is important to keep your family, employees and pets safe in the event of a wildfire.
Along with this article, NATEC has included a step-by-step home safety checklist in the event of a wildfire. We’ll go into details the steps necessary: before, during and after a wildfire occurs.
Before a wildfire:
Before a wildfire occurs, ensure that your property is free from bushes, shrubbery or trees that may easily catch fire. There may be collateral damage from fallen over electrical wires, or embers that may fall into your chimney. Also, your roof should be clean and free of dry debris, including leaves and pine needles. These can easily catch fire and soon spread across the entire roof of the property. Combustible and flammable materials should be stored in safe areas and in approved containers. Vegetation and flammable materials outside of your property should be stored at least 30 feet away. Lastly, keep and maintain batteries, battery-operated radios and flashlights in the event of any emergency. This will allow you to keep up to date with the news and navigate through darkness in the event of a power outage.
During a wildfire:
If you are not immediately affected by the wildfire but it may come into your area, it is important to keep up to date with the news to ensure that there are no evacuations necessary. Hoses and water buckets should be readily available with water in the case that a fire sparks in the vicinity of your property. You should also keep all the lights in your home or property on, so that there is complete visibility in the case that a fire suddenly occurs. Hanging drapes and curtains can abruptly go up in flames, so be sure to remove them during a wildfire. In the case of an evacuation, ensure you, your family, employees and/or pets are all prepared to evacuate the premises.
After a wildfire:
After a wildfire occurs, contacting your local fire officials to ensure that your property is safe for access. There may be lingering embers, hot spots, or smoldering stumps. Prior to entering your property, ensure these are put out and use buckets of water as needed. Double check if there are any embers on the exterior and interior, including each room, of your property. Always contact 9-1-1 if you identify potential dangers that still may exist.
During a wildfire, there are two types of readily available and safe to use respirators to help with smoke inhalation. The two types of respirators are the N-95 and the P100. These are readily available at most home improvement stores and can help with dust, smoke, and airborne particles.
Below is an infographic that can help serve as a quick guide for anyone who would like to prepare their business, office or home before, during and after a wildfire.