If an Extreme Fire Behavior alert has been issued for your area, evacuation orders may not be far behind. Because very few plans survive contact with the enemy (the enemy being flames and fumes, in this case), it's important to check as much off your list as possible before the moment arrives. These steps are designed to minimize the risk of the fire moving from the outside of your home to the inside. If evacuation is a possibility, tack this list to your door, and check these items off beforehand, so you can use the time during an actual evacuation to focus on your getting you and your family to safety.
- Remove highly-flammable items like newspaper, trash, cardboard and firewood (obviously) from the premises. This is something you should do as soon as a Red Flag Warning has been issued for your area.
- Remove curtains and drapes from the window settings. These could be the first items to catch fire, so fold them up and put them in a closet, cupboard, or under a bed.
- Move interior furniture - especially items that are upholstered - as far from the windows as possible.
- Switch off your air conditioning or any window fans. Any filter is going to be overwhelmed rapidly if a fire approaches, so don't let your A/C system or cooling units contribute to smoke damage inside your home.
- Close any windows or doors that connect your house to the outside.
- Most importantly, have a simple evacuation plan your entire family is familiar with, so that if the order arrives, you're ready to go.
We've put together this checklist to help you fireproof the inside of your home in the event that you leave it behind. As you put together your wildfire preparedness plan, remember to include the outside of your home as well by taking steps to clear the yard, clean the gutters, and create a buffer between your home and the fire. Have a suggestion we didn't cover, or want to share a story about prepping the home for evacuation? Leave a comment below!