Every year it seems California wildfires get worse. Are you ready? Do you have an evacuation plan? Do you know what to do before, during and after a wildfire? Here’s your guide on what to do in the event of a California wildfire.
How to Prepare for California Wildfires
Take these precautions 30 feet from your home:
- Decorate with non-flammable materials if possible.
- Remove combustible pine needles, leaves and other materials.
- Remove flammable patio furniture from your yard and place it in storage.
- Cut back tree limbs that are 15 feet in height or lower.
- Get a garden hose that can reach all areas of your home and yard.
- Designate wells, swimming pools, fire hydrants and other water sources and determine that they are accessible by the fire department.
Take these precautions 100 to 30 feet from your home:
- Cut back tree limbs that are 8 feet in height or lower.
- Make “fuel breaks” around your property with driveways or gravel paths.
- Cut back other flammable vegetation, such as vines.
Take these precautions 200 to 100 feet from your home:
- Remove the last of any flammable vegetation.
- If you plant any trees, do it so that they are spaced far apart so that their branches don’t touch.
- Stack your firewood.
Follow these tips inside your home:
- Consider installing fire sprinklers.
- Use Class A roofing material on your home.
- Place smoke alarms in every zone of your home and near all the bedrooms.
- Test all your smoke alarms each month and replace the batteries each year.
Lastly, you want to create an evacuation plan and familiarize everyone in your home with it. Wherever you evacuate to needs to be pet-friendly; keep in mind that many hotels and shelters are not! Be sure to also microchip your pet. You can do this at Adopt & Shop at our Microchip Mondays for $10! You also need to create an emergency kit for yourself and your pet. Collect the following (many of these supplies are available at Adopt & Shop!):
- Human supplies (food, radio, flashlight, etc.)
- Pet food
- Pet food and water bowls
- Pet treats
- Poop bags or litter and a litter box
- Pet bed and blanket
- Pet medical records
- Pet medications
- Collar, harness and leash
- Pet toys
- Pet carrier
What to Do During a California Wildfire
Here’s what to do during California wildfires:
- If you are near a California wildfire, tune into emergency channels.
- Evacuate as soon as it is recommended that you do so.
- Store your emergency kit somewhere close by so you can make a hasty exit.
- Always bring your pets with you (click here to read about what to do if you need to leave them behind)! Make sure they are wearing a collar and ID tag.
- Switch on all of your lights.
- Turn off your gas.
- Place furniture in the center of every room.
- Take down all curtains.
- Shut your windows and doors.
If you evacuate in your car, remain calm. Close your car windows and air vents. Then switch on the headlights and keep the doors unlocked. This will make you more easily accessible in case you need rescuing.
What to Do After a California Wildfire
After California wildfires, it’s imperative that you stay away from your home until officials confirm that it is safe to return to the area. When you get home, look around your entire property for remaining ash pits, small fires and hot spots. These areas are still hazardous for both you and your pet. Because of this, we recommend keeping your pet on a leash. During this time, your pet will probably be nervous because of the unfamiliar sights and smells. Speak to them in a calm voice and keep them close to you, either on a leash or in a carrier until you confirm your home is 100% safe.