Wildfire Preparation Tips – 21st Century Insurance

Wildfire Preparation Tips

The more you know about wildfires, the more you can plan.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, compared to this same time last year (January 1st through July 4th ), there have been 750 more wildfires and over 42,000 more acres burned in 2021. To make sure you and your family are prepared in case of a wildfire near you, it’s best to learn how wildfires start, what to do if you live near a wildfire, and how you can help prevent them.

How Does a Wildfire Start?

Wildfires start by either a human being or a natural cause. In California, about 90% are caused by humans. Reasons why most fires start from human activity can range from unattended campground fires, improper cigarette disposal, and electrical issues.

When it comes to mother nature, wildfires can be caused from hot lightning bolts. The issue with natural wildfires is that they are usually not easily detected. This can lead to countless hours of burning forest debris before being identified.

How You Can Prevent Wildfires in Public

We must be cognizant of our actions when we are near flammable items that could go ablaze easy. Keep in mind that although wildfire season is May through October, they can happen at any time of the year.

  1. Report unattended fires

  2. Make sure campfires are completely out

  3. Avoid using fireworks

  4. Do not play with matches

  5. Pay attention to signs about trash disposal

  6. Educate yourself on brush fire safety

What To Do in Case of a Wildfire – Plan Ahead

Being wildfire-ready includes preparing a plan of action ahead of time. The following tips will help you cover all the bases in case of an emergency.

  1. Listen to the news and emergency officials for evacuation orders

  2. Identify responsibilities for each family member

  3. Sit down with your family and discuss what will most likely happen for the next few days

  4. Select a family member contact who you can meet in case of a wildfire

  5. Turn your gas off in your home

  6. Turn off air conditioning/air circulation systems

  7. Close windows and shut all doors (including pet doors)

  8. Put into storage any outdoor furniture or items that could catch on fire easily

  9. Move objects such as trash bins or decorations away from walls outside of the home

  10. If you have a ladder, prop it up against the house to allow firefighters access to your roof

  11. Wet down outside your home with a garden hose/sprinkler

  12. Do not forget to pack and bring an emergency kit

Emergency Kit Items

Packing an emergency kit in advance will help make sure you and your family are always prepared in the case of an evacuation order.

  1. A crate or multiple bags to fit items

  2. Water – three gallons recommended per person

  3. Food items – enough to last three days

  4. Personal hygiene items and clothes

  5. Phone chargers and batteries

  6. Copies of personal documents and family valuables

  7. Multi-purpose tools, flashlights

  8. First Aid Kit and prescription medicine

  9. Children & pet items: baby supplies, games, toys, pet food

  10. Cash (in case ATMs are not nearby)

Stay in the Know

Stay up to date with the latest news on wildfires across California.

  1. Download the American Red Cross App https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps.html for updates on emergencies nearby

  2. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection posts details about local incidents in the Golden State and has a database with recent wildfires via county and year https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/

  3. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection also has an app - https://plan.readyforwildfire.org/ . Through the app, you can sign up for text messages and alerts to better prepare for wildfires

  4. Smokey the Bear - https://smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos is a good resource to use to help educate the little ones at home

  5. Visit the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) https://www.nfpa.org/ for fire protection training, tips, and more