National Preparedness Month: Wildfire

Photo provided by FEMA.

Photo provided by FEMA.

The 2015 wildfire season has been noted the worst on record for the state of Alaska, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It has also been wide spread on the West Coast from Washington down to New Mexico. Wildfires are unpredictable and may occur anywhere which is why you need to be prepared for this contingency.

A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted fire burning in a natural area, such as forest, grassland, or prairie. They can damage natural resources, destroy homes, and threaten the safety of the public and the firefighters who protect forests and communities.

They are more likely 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. They can start in remote wilderness areas, in national parks, or even in your backyard. They can start from natural causes such as lightning, but most are caused by humans either accidentally or intentionally.

So what can you do to prepare?

 

  • Protect your Property

o   Maintain your lawn and remove combustible debris (i.e. leaves, dead vegetation)

o   Don’t use anything (i.e. lawn mowers) that will create sparks outside on dry, windy days.

 

  • Evacuation

o   Have an evacuation plan for you and your family

o   When an evacuation notice is issued, take prompt action to maximize survival chances

o   Pack emergency supplies

o   Know your community’s evacuation plan and ID several routes in case roads are blocked.

 

  • Know how to stay informed

o   Monitor the weather reports

o   Find out what alerts are available in your area

o   Consider buying a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver to receive broadcast alerts directly from the National Weather Service

 
The Coast Guard does their part to stay Always Ready and encourages everyone to be prepared for a disaster to strike. If as many people are prepared as possible, emergency services can focus on the true life and death situations as they arise so that everyone can get out safe and sound.

Don’t wait until it’s too late; take action now so you can be prepared for the worst.

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