Thursday, September 10th, 2020 by Jessica Dingle
News across the Northwest is a continuous run of current evacuations and cities burnt to the ground. Many of our crew and staff were directly affected by these fires. We want to do our part to help our communities stay safe and reduce their risks. Here is a collected list of resources and tips to help you keep you and your family as safe as possible.
There are several things that you can do prior to the fire season or at the start of the fire season to help your family get prepared. Learning about wildfire risks and planning in advance can help protect against the destructive impacts of wildfires. (osha.gov)
One of the most important things is to talk with your family about wildfires facts: how to keep them from starting and what to do if one occurs. Discussing ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children. (redcross.org)
Individuals with health conditions should talk to their physicians to develop a personal plan for smoke. (baaqmd.gov) This is especially true for those with respiratory issues.
Post emergency phone numbers by every phone in your house. (redcross.org)
Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged if a hurricane causes flooding. Take pictures on a phone and keep copies of important documents and files on a flash drive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys. (redcross.org)
Consider purchasing a non-ozone producing air purifier ( HEPA ) to create a cleaner air room in the home, or consider purchasing a MERV 13 or greater filter for your HVAC system to be used when we are experiencing a heavy smoke event. (baaqmd.gov). They even have portable air purifiers that you can plug into your car!
Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or medical supplies. (redcross.org) Examples include hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, cleaning materials, and two cloth masks per person to prevent the spread of infection. (ready.gov)
What to do in the event of Level 1 and 2 evacuation events or high smoke situations:
Staying indoors with windows and doors closed, where air quality is better, is the best way to protect your health. During high heat and heavy smoke events, keep indoor air cool or visit a cleaner air-cooling center. (baaqmd.gov)
Set air conditioning units and car vent systems to recirculate to prevent outside air from moving inside. (baaqmd.gov)
Avoid adding additional air pollution by curtailing activities such as wood burning, lawn mowing, leaf blowing, driving, barbecuing, or other dust-producing activities. (baaqmd.gov)
Check on friends and neighbors who may have special needs. (aransaspasstx.gov)
Keep your vehicle in good repair with a full tank of fuel. (aransaspasstx.gov)
It may be best to evacuate. Fires can spread quickly and the smoke plume can make it difficult to see in an evacuation. In addition, it can be nearly impossible to keep dense smoke from building up in the indoor air. Pay close attention to local emergency alerts to know when to evacuate. (epa.gov)
Evacuate immediately if authorities tell you to do so. If possible, bring items with you when you evacuate that can help protect you and others from COVID-19 while sheltering. Examples include hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, cleaning materials, and two cloth masks per person to prevent the spread of infection. (ready.gov)
If you are evacuated (Level 3):
The Red Cross is providing shelter, meals, and emotional support. If you evacuated your home but are not staying in a shelter, you are welcome to come in for food, water and cleaning supplies for your return home. (redcross.org)
Failure to follow an evacuation order can place your life in danger by leaving you stranded in an area with no basic services or food and water. (houselogic.com)
Turn off electricity, water, and gas. Doing so will help prevent additional dangers including flooding, fire, and explosions. Keep in mind, you're going to need the utility company to turn your gas back on when you return home. (houselogic.com)
If you don't have storm-proof shutters, fit plywood coverings over all windows. (FYI, using just tape on windows is not recommended because it will not stop windows from breaking, just shattering.) Protect indoor stuff. (houselogic.com)
Remove any objects hanging on trees or your home's exterior, such as birdhouses and wind chimes -- they can break off in high winds and cause serious damage. Bring inside anything that's not nailed down including lawn furniture, trashcans, toys, and garden equipment. (houselogic.com)
Download the FEMA app for a list of open shelters during an active disaster in your local area. (ready.gov)
Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions. (ready.gov)
Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather. (ready.gov)
We truly hope this list helps and that you stay safe. Below is also a link to the interactive fire map so you can stay updated.
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