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When Fire Threatens Your Home

The American Red Cross has created a checklist for people who need evacuate their homes from an approaching wildfire. According to the agency, preparedness is key because in the event of a wildfire, "every second counts."

The Red Cross recommends the following supplies if you need to evacuate:
-Water—one gallon per person, per day (three day supply)
-Food—non­perishable, easy­ to­ prepare items (three day supply)
-Flashlight
-Battery­-powered or hand­crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
-Extra batteries
-First aid kit
-Medications (seven day supply) and medical items
-Multi­purpose tool
-Sanitation and personal hygiene items
-Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
-Cell phone with chargers
-Family and emergency contact information
-Extra cash
-Emergency blanket
-Map(s) of the area
-Other essential items that could not be replaced if they were destroyed

There are other things you can do to prepare for a wildfire. The Red Cross recommends the following:
-Learn about wild fire risks in your area
-Talk with members of your household about wild fires—how to prevent them and what to do if one occurs
-Post emergency phone numbers by every phone in your home
-Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked
-Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well or swimming pool
-Set aside household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, ax, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and shovel. You may need to fight small fires before emergency responders arrive
-Select building materials and plants that resist fire
-Regularly clean roofs and gutters
-Plan and practice two ways out of your neighborhood in case your primary route is blocked
-Select a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate
-Identify someone who is out of the area to contact if local phone lines are not working

A few other items of interest from the American Red Cross during smoky conditions. They recommend NOT using anything that adds to indoor air pollution, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves. Do not vacuum because it stirs up particles that are already in the air. Also, in your car, use the air conditioning on the recycled air mode.


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