Wildfire Safety Tips to Protect Your Family & Home
Wildfires near your home can be deadly. Learn how to protect your family and your home in the case of a fire in the area.
Fire is nature’s housekeeper and plays a key role in renewing ecosystems.
But there’s nothing natural about the increasing number of wildfires that break out each year as more homes are built on or near forested land and outdoor activities increase. These fires threaten the environment and communities by destroying hundreds of homes each year.
Prevention is key to saving both lives and property when a wildfire moves across the landscape. Play it safe with these tips:
- Build smart: Use fire-resistant materials when building or remodeling your home. Outfit chimneys and stovepipes with spark arresters. Mark your house with fire-resistant signs and address numbers.
- Eliminate combustibles: Clean debris from all roofs and gutters regularly. Keep firewood, wood fences and other flammables away from structures.
- Landscape for safety: Create a firebreak around your home with fire-safe plants and fire-resistant landscaping. Learn more about safer landscaping.
- Keep fire tools handy: If you can do so safely, battling a small blaze may be an option. Be prepared with a ladder tall enough to reach the roof, a long hose and a shovel, rake and buckets.
- Heed evacuation orders.If time permits before leaving, wet the roof and any shrubs within 15 feet of house. Make sure you take important items with you by creating an emergency kit and storing it a safe and easy-to-reach place. Supplies for your kit should include:
- A three- to seven-day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Nonperishable food or cooking tools, manual can opener, portable cook stove and fuel
- A change of clothing, seasonal gear and sturdy shoes
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- A first-aid handbook and kit, including prescription medicines
- Emergency tools, including a NOAA weather radio with battery backup and a portable radio (ideally hand-cranked and/or solar), flashlight, extra batteries and light bulbs, fire extinguisher, and a highway map of your county/parish
- An extra set of keys, cash and a credit card
- Important documents — stored in a waterproof container — including insurance, medical records, bank account numbers and Social Security cards
Learn more about wildfire preparedness from the U.S. Fire Administration. And find more information about keeping your home safe from wildfires from Firewise.