Disaster Preparedness: Wildfire Disaster Plan

Wildfire Disaster Plan

Master Disaster Checklist

If you want to keep your property, family, pets, and business safe during natural disasters, it’s important to be prepared. This master checklist gives you a good foundation for what to do, what to have, and what to plan for.

  • Secure Contact Information: Make sure you have a printed out copy as the power may be out and you might not have access to your computer or documents. Include names and telephone numbers, as well as out-of-town friends or family who might be able to help you. It’s important to have an out-of-town friend listed because your friends who live in your town might not be able to help you if a disaster affected them, too. Additionally, prearrange a nearby meet-up place after the emergency. It could be the local high school, a relative’s home, or a grocery store.
  • Have a Plan: Make sure that all of your family knows about your disaster plan (escape routes, where the emergency kit is stored, who to contact, and what to do in case of a natural disaster).
    • Identify a Safe Room: Point out which room is the safest room in your home. This should be an interior room without windows, if possible (maybe a closet or a bathroom). This is the place your family should seek shelter when storm warnings are issued.
  • Stay Informed: Make sure that you have a portable radio with fully charged batteries so that you can get the latest up-to-date information about the disaster. If you are in the path of the disaster, go to your pre-designated shelter area immediately.
  • Take Photos/Video of Your Property: If you have an inventory of your valuables and possessions you are likely to be able to claim up to 20% more insurance than if you don’t. Taking photos and videos with your cell phone is an easy way to document your items. Be sure to upload all the images to secure cloud backup and not just store on your property.
  • Charge Electronic Devices: During a disaster, you may lose power. Ensure your cell phone is fully charged, along with other electronic devices like tablets and laptop computers. Also, think about purchasing a solar-powered backup charging device.
  • Get Cash: When the power goes out, ATM machines won’t work. Get plenty of one dollar bills because not many people will have change for twenty and hundred dollar bills. Try to aim for ones, fives, and tens.
  • Fill Up on Gas: Fill your gas tank. When the power goes out, gas pumps won’t work.
  • Disaster Supplies Kit: A disaster supplies kit is essential to keeping you and your family safe. It should include non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, clothes, pet food and supplies, medications, batteries, flashlights, etc. Consider the following list: 
    • Flashlight
    • Batteries
    • First Aid Kits: For $20, you can have medical supply basics — all in one place — and ready to use. Minor as well as major injuries are possible during an earthquake and it’s possible that emergency services will be overwhelmed, so having a first aid kit is essential.
    • Solar Cell Phone Charger: Solar powered charges start in the mid-$20 range and go up from there. The best selling Amazon solar charger is $60 and is fast with “industrial-strength PET polymer faced solar panels sewn into a rugged polyester canvas offer weather-resistant outdoor durability.” If the power goes out, you might have no other way to charge your phone.
    • Crank-Powered Radio: You can pay upwards of $100 for a decent crank radio, but you don’t have to spend that much. The best-selling Amazon crank radio is only $20!
    • Emergency Water Filter: There’s no need for an expensive filtration system. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has 5,000 reviews and is only $20! The LifeStraw “removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EPA filter standards.”
    • Bottled Water (minimum of three gallons for each member of your family)
    • Battery-Powered Radio
    • Battery-Powered Lantern
    • Emergency Food Supply
    • Can Opener
    • Basic Tools (utility knife, pliers, wrench, tape, compass)
    • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, toilet paper)
    • Pencils and Paper
    • Pet Supplies (food, litter)
    • Rain Gear
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Change of Clothes
    • Plastic Garbage Bags
    • Face Masks
    • Gloves
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Cleaning Wipes
  • Have a “Go Bag”: Having an emergency bag packed with essentials (food, clothes, toiletries, cash, etc.) can save you time in a crisis. P.S. A little bit of toilet paper goes a long way…
  • Gather Your Important Papers: Keep all special papers and photographs in a watertight container or plastic bag. You know, all of those important things like bank account papers, birth certificates, property deeds, medical cards, social security cards, etc. as well as photos and important keepsakes which can never be replaced. During a disaster, they could all be ruined and washed away forever in one whoosh!
    • Identification (copy of driver’s license or passport)
    • Insurance Policies
    • Birth Certificates
    • Marriage Certificates
    • Proof of Residence (copy of lease, mortgage documents)
    • Deeds or Wills
    • Tax Returns
    • Social Security Cards
  • Plan for Your Pets: Many hotels and motels won’t accommodate your pets, so if your plan is to evacuate to a hotel, then you’ll need to find them a safe boarding kennels or cattery which is outside of the disaster’s impact zone. Be sure you have plenty of your pet’s preferred food and whatever medications they might need.
  • Refill Your Medications: Make sure that you have plenty of your prescription medicines on hand. If a disaster hits your area, the last thing you want to worry about is a medical emergency. 
  • Disaster Insurance: Check your insurance coverage as part of your disaster preparedness plan. Many home insurance policies do not cover hazards like flooding caused by hurricanes, for example. If you live in a disaster-prone area, consider getting insurance to cover damages.
  • Have a Plan for After the Disaster: After a disaster, get out of town until emergency services and law enforcement have gotten control of the situation. Unfortunately, like many other disaster situations, there are people who will try to take advantage of the chaos. It’s best to avoid being in the disaster zone until things are under control.

Are YOU Prepared for the Next Wildfire?

Most people are surprised by how quickly wildfire can spread, especially in high winds and dry conditions. All it takes is one spark or burning piece of ash to ignite a field or house near yours. Are you and your family prepared to evacuate in a flash?

Wildfire can rapidly spread which might not give you much of a chance to organize yourself. That’s why it’s really important that, as part of your disaster preparedness, you have a wildfire disaster plan. Your wildfire disaster plan must be prepared well in advance of any wildfire, and all members of your family must be familiar with it. Every family wildfire disaster plan will be slightly different, but they all need to take into account the same types of things.

Consider purchasing the following items to help keep your pets and family safe during a wildfire disaster:

Home Safety

First Alert HOME1 Rechargeable Standard Home Fire Extinguisher

The First Alert HOME1 Fire Extinguisher is a versatile, durable, and easy-to-use product that can fight various types of fires. Its rechargeable feature makes it cost-effective in the long run, while the brand’s reputation for home safety adds to its credibility.

Home Safety

Amazon Basics 200 Joule Surge Protector Power Strip

This 2-pack 6 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip is an ideal solution for protecting small appliances, phones, and lamps from power surges.

Home Safety

Smoke Detector, Battery Operated (3 Pack)

These smoke alarms are equipped with LED warning and photoelectric technology to detect slow smoldering fires. They are easy to install, work on a 9V battery, and can be used in various places without any radioactive material.


Wildfire Disaster Plan – Be Prepared!

  • Fire Extinguishers: Make sure that there are always fire extinguishers on hand and that all members know how to use them. You should also regularly check the expiration dates. It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your home anyway in case of a kitchen fire or other fire.
  • Utility Box: In case of a wildfire, make sure that your family knows where and how to shut off the water, electricity, and gas supplies to the house. A gas supply that hasn’t been turned off can trigger an explosion.
  • Emergency Supplies Kit: Make sure that your family has an emergency supply kit that is well-stocked and in an easy place to grab in case of an emergency evacuation.
  • Emergency Phone Numbers: Having a list of all of your emergency numbers is a great idea, disaster situation or not. You should keep a list by your telephone, in your emergency supply kit, and stored on your cell phone.
  • Stay Updated: Follow the latest information through the news, radio, or scanner so that you know if you’re in the evacuation zone. Also, keep track of where the fire is spreading and which way the winds are blowing so you have an idea of if you or your family is going to be in danger.
  • Neighbors: Look out for your neighbors in any disaster situation. Tell them about your wildfire disaster plan and encourage them to make a wildfire disaster plan of their own.


Wildfire Evacuation Plan

  • Designate Meeting Place: You must designate an emergency meeting area that’s outside the fire hazard area. That way, you’ll be able to determine immediately who has been safely evacuated and whether anybody is missing.
  • Know Escape Routes: You need to determine a variety of different escape routes from your home, and from your community. Practice them from time to time, with your entire family.
      • Note: Make sure that your evacuation plan includes pets and large animals like horses.
  • Have a Communication Point: Designate a friend or family member who lives out of the area as your single point of communication. That way, if you get separated, you’ll all be able to contact one person who can then call or message everyone else involved.


Power Outage Maps

In case of a wildfire — especially in California — it’s important to know if you are likely to lose power in your area. Here are some outage maps that you can check on in case of a natural disaster, be it wildfire, earthquake, or something else.