National Preparedness Month – Wildfire Safety

17 Sep

As a part of September’s National Preparedness Month, we are highlighting the importance of making an emergency action plan.  And, how to stay safe and communicate during the disasters that can affect your community. In this post, we’re taking a look at something that is affecting California at this very moment – wildfires!

What is a wildfire? Wildfires can occur anywhere and can destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure, natural resources and agriculture. A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted fire burning in a natural area, such as a forest, grassland, or prairie. As a surge of building development expands into these areas, homes and businesses may be situated in or near areas susceptible to wildfires. This is called the wildland urban interface.

Where do wildfires occur? Wildfires can occur anywhere in the country. They can start in remote wilderness areas, in national parks, or even in your back yard. Wildfires can start from natural causes, such as lightning, but most are caused by humans, either accidentally—from cigarettes, campfires, or outdoor burning—or intentionally.

When do wildfires happen? Wildfires can occur at any time throughout the year, but the potential is always higher during periods with little or no rainfall, which make brush, grass, and trees dry and burn more easily. High winds can also contribute to spreading the fire. California’s drought is playing a huge role in the wildfires we are seeing today and wildfire risks are extremely high.

What to do when a wildfire threatens your area? The best action to protect yourself and your family is to evacuate early to avoid being trapped. If there is smoke, drive carefully because visibility may be reduced. Keep your headlights on and watch for other vehicles and fleeing wildlife or livestock.

How can I protect myself and my property? Your goal before a fire happens, is to make your home or business and the surrounding area more resistant to catching fire and burning. This means reducing the amount of material that can burn easily in and around your home or business by clearing away debris and other flammable materials, and using fire-resistant materials for landscaping and construction. Review your homeowners or renters insurance policy to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your property and personal belongings.

How can I take action today? Protecting yourself today means having sources for information, preparing your home or workplace, developing an emergency communications plan, and knowing what to do when a wildfire is approaching your home or community. Taking action today can save lives and property.

We’ll continue to share important safety tips throughout the month of September. Do you have emergency preparedness questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Don Dressler Consulting and CalWorkSafety.com. We’re here to help!

-Don Dressler

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