Editor’s Note: With the East being pummeled with Hurricane Ida and the West still being plagued by fire, we are reposting this story from 3 years ago as a reminder to always be prepared.
Staying Alive by Being Prepared
Many wildfire fighting agencies offer plans and suggestions for wildfire preparedness. Right now, California and other states in dry conditions are facing terrible wildfire seasons. Here are the commonly called “6 P’s for Preparedness” and evacuation. Do not wait until it’s too late.
NOTE: Have a plan; tell everyone in your immediate family; practice it; be ready to survive. Wildfires have no conscience. And as a retired Fire Chief, I will tell you what I told countless evacuees; if you can replace it; leave it when someone says evacuate! Do not die for stuff.
A DRAFT PLAN FOR THE 6 P’S
PEOPLE and PETS
1. TEXTS: Tell everyone to stay on top of texts (better than phone calls) during fire times in area – no matter what, stay in touch.
2. EVAC ROUTES: Designate a north, south, east, and west escape route and meet-up location, depending on your roads. Brief your family.
3. PETS: Have a plan to get them and their needs/food to safety.
4. FOOD and FREEZERS: During evacuations you may be able to leave a generator running to keep food stuffs from spoiling. Do not store extra gas anywhere near your structures. But food can be replaced. Check with local fire officials to make sure you are not making the problem worse.
5. LIGHTS: Turn on every light in the house, inside and out. Make your home visible in smoky conditions.
6. WINDOWS: Close all windows and vents. Stop any drafts.
7. FURNITURE: Move flammable furniture to the middle of rooms. And make sure you have no firewood or other flammables stacked against the house.
8. CURTAINS: Remove flammable curtains.
9. HOSES: Hook up every hose you can; and fill any tubs or trash cans with water stored near your house.
1. Bring laptops, tablets, and hard drives if you store valuable documents in them.
2. Bag up and have ready to transport any documents you cannot replace.
3. Bring your password list for financials and accounts.
1. Bag up and have ready to transport your key medical needs and instruments.
2. Bring extra batteries for any devices you rely on.
3. Have your pain meds ready to go with you.
4. Do not forget your vitamins.
1. WATER: Have extra bottled water ready for transport.
2. PHONES: Gather up and have ready, spare cords and chargers.
3. CLOTHES: Bag up some comfy clothes, like for a camping trip. Include boots, hats, sunglasses, swim wear if appropriate, and skin lotions.
4. FOOD: Prepare a Go-Bag with some food, canned or dried, for a few days. You can buy a commercial one as well. Bring hand snacks and trail mix.
5. FLASHLIGHTS: Have an assortment of extra flashlights packed up and ready to go, with batteries.
1. PICTURES: Put irreplaceable pics in the fire safe now; or safe deposit box. Otherwise, have them stacked and ready to move with you.
2. JEWELRY: Decide and pack now what you think you might not be able to replace.
3. WALL HANGINGS: Decide what you can replace. If you must take it with you, have a plan and proper packaging that does not slow you down during evacuation.
1. Make sure you have with you or have in your escape Go-Bag your critical credit card and ATM cards.
2. Have cash on hand and ready to go during evacuation. If electricity is out; cash is king.
Do not die for stuff! But to survive and perhaps save your home, follow the 6 P’s for Preparedness. Meet with your local fire department or volunteers for a home fire risk assessment before you are breathing smoke. Take this plan and make it yours. Go over it and practice it with your family. Put the info on your smart phone. BE READY. Wildfires have no conscience and will take your home in minutes.