With the memory of last yearâ€™s Monument Fire fresh in peopleâ€™s minds and a high probability for fire-related weather and events again this year, now is the time to prepare for â€œfire season.â€ Many learned that evacuations can come with little notice or warning and with no time to prepare. This makes having a plan and an evacuation kit much more important as Arizona has moved into this yearâ€™s fire season. Recent weather conditions and red flag warnings show that another event similar to last yearâ€™s Monument Fire and fires in the surrounding areas could come at any time.
In areas with high potential for earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes or floods, most individuals prepare for these events before they happen. In Arizona there is a high potential for wildfires but most people do not know how to adequately prepare and plan for one. The best time for people to ready themselves and their families for an emergency evacuation is before they are called to act.
As part of a four-part series running over the next few months, the Fort Huachuca Fire Prevention/Safety Office staff will share information on what to do before a wildfire threatens; how to protect the home inside and out; how to survive in a vehicle, in your home or outdoors; and what to do after a wildfire.
Prepare before a wildfire threatens
Plan more than one escape route from your home or subdivision by car and by foot.
Prepare a family evacuation kit that includes: three changes of clothing, a change of footwear and one blanket or sleeping bag per person; a three-day supply of non-perishable food for everyone and water, about three to four gallons, per person; and a first aid kit that includes the familyâ€™s prescription medications.
Also pack: emergency tools including a battery-powered AM/FM radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries; extra car keys and a credit card, cash or travelerâ€™s checks; sanitation supplies; special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members; and an extra pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses.
Gather and locate important family documents in an easily accessible location. Documents to include are: wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks, bonds, passports, social security cards, immunization records, bank account numbers, credit card account numbers and companies.
Also include an inventory of valuable household goods, important phone numbers and family records such as birth, marriage and death certificates.
Pick two meeting places for the family
Choose a meeting place a safe distance from the home and instruct everyone to meet there.
Select a second meeting place outside of the neighborhood in case you canâ€™t return to the area.
If warned that a wildfire threatensÂ
Back vehicles into the garage or park in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave the key in the ignition.
Confine pets to one room and make plans to care for them if evacuated.
Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relativeâ€™s home outside the threatened area.
With planning, preparation, situational awareness, and general knowledge, everyone can ensure that they adequately prepared for and are able to survive events like last yearâ€™s Monument Fire and other emergency events.
For more wildfire-related information, call the Fire Prevention/Safety Office, 533.5054.