Wildfires can spread rapidly, making it crucial to stay informed about the situation in your area. Download the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) app for real-time updates from the National Weather Service on fire weather watches near you. If you need to evacuate quickly, being well-informed can save valuable time. In case of questions or assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to us.
Preparing your home can help minimize damage from wildfires. Create a defensible space around your property by clearing dead vegetation, trimming tree branches, and maintaining a well-watered lawn. Have an evacuation plan ready, including a pre-packed emergency kit with essentials like food, water, clothing, and important documents in waterproof containers.
Make sure your vehicle is prepared for a possible evacuation. Keep your gas tank full, check tire pressure, and keep an emergency kit in your trunk. This includes a blanket, flashlights, maps, jumper cables, flares, and emergency lights. Before you leave, take pictures of your car for insurance purposes and upload important documents to a password-protected digital space.
Tips for Staying Safe While Evacuating
If you need to travel or evacuate, plan your route ahead of time and check road conditions by calling 511. Share your plans and routes with someone else, and save emergency numbers on your phone. Stay indoors as much as possible, closing windows and doors to the outside air.
While driving, proceed with caution. Drive slowly and stay alert for other vehicles, emergency responders, and animals fleeing the fire. Strong winds and rapidly changing conditions can affect visibility, so use your headlights and keep your windows closed. Maintain an increased distance between cars, using at least an eight-second gap.
Protect yourself from smoke exposure by wearing a N95 mask while driving. If you encounter a wildfire, don't try to drive through it. Instead, turn around and find an alternate route. If you must stop, park away from trees or brush, close your air vents, and stay in your car until the main fire passes.
What to Do if the Wildfire is Spreading While You're on the Road
Encountering a rapidly spreading wildfire while on the road can be a frightening and dangerous situation. By following the steps below, you can increase your chances of staying safe and making it through the ordeal:
Stay calm and focused: Panic can cloud your judgment and make it difficult to think clearly. Take deep breaths and focus on your immediate surroundings, allowing you to react appropriately to the situation.
Turn on your headlights: Smoke from wildfires can severely reduce visibility. Keep your headlights on to help you see better and to make your vehicle more visible to other drivers.
Listen to emergency broadcasts: To stay updated on the wildfire's progress and direction, listen to local radio or use an emergency broadcasting app on your phone.
Follow the instructions of emergency personnel: Pay close attention to any directives provided by firefighters, police officers, or other emergency personnel. They have the most up-to-date information and will guide you to safety.
Seek shelter in your vehicle if necessary: If you find yourself trapped by the fire, park your car in a clear area away from vegetation. Close all windows and vents, turn off your engine, and cover yourself with a blanket or coat to protect against heat. Stay in your car until the fire has passed, and then carefully exit once it's safe.
Don't attempt to outrun the fire: Wildfires can move quickly, and trying to outrun the fire may not be possible. Instead, look for a safe place to take shelter, such as a wide road or a cleared area.
Avoid low-lying areas: Wildfires can create intense heat, causing low-lying areas to fill with smoke and toxic gasses. Stay on higher ground, away from valleys and ravines, whenever possible.
Keep your distance from the fire: Maintain a safe distance from the fire and any flames you encounter. If the fire appears to be blocking your path, find an alternative route or take shelter in a safe location until the fire has passed.
After the Wildfire
Once the wildfire has been contained, it's important to assess your property for any damage. Document any issues with photos or videos for insurance purposes. Stay cautious and continue to watch local news and updates for information on road closures, power outages, and other wildfire-related issues. Be aware of potential hazards such as downed power lines and debris on roads.
If you need assistance, don't hesitate to contact the appropriate resources. They're there to help you through the recovery process.
Important Contact Information for Emergencies
Knowing whom to call during emergencies is crucial in wildfire situations. To inquire about your car's insurance protection, call the LOOP Care Team at 1-844-544-LOOP (5667). If your vehicle is disabled or you're stranded on the side of the road, the Motorists Helpline is available at 1-800-525-5555.
For local road updates, contact non-emergency help at 5-1-1. For local emergency information, reach out to the State Emergency Assistance Registry at 2-1-1. In case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1. To connect with the Red Cross for assistance, call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Staying prepared, informed, and safe during wildfire season is essential. By following these guidelines and taking the necessary precautions, you can protect yourself and your loved ones during a wildfire.