The wildfires raging in Eastern Washington are a reminder to local residents of the fire danger that exists as we head into the summer. There are areas locally that could be affected by wildfires and this is a good reminder that people should be prepared.
The American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter wants people to be aware of the possibility of wildfires in our area and to be prepared if a wildfire should happen. Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes. More than four out of every five wildland fires are started by people. Negligent human behavior, such as smoking in forested areas or improperly extinguishing campfires, is the cause of many wildland fires. Lightning is another cause.
Reduce your risk by preparing now before wildfire strikes. Meet with your family to decide what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area. Follow the steps listed below to protect your family, home, and property.
Red Cross Wildfire Safety Tips:
- Protect yourself and your property is to use fire-resistant materials outside and inside your home.
- Create a 100 foot-zone of safety around your home.
- Plan several escape routes from your home.
- Plan your water needs.
- Clear all flammable vegetation, newspapers, and rubbish. Regularly dispose of them properly at an approved site.
- Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it’s kept.
- Regularly clean your roof and gutters.
If advised to evacuate as soon as possible, you should:
- Wear protective clothing‚Äîsturdy shoes, cotton or wool long pants and long-sleeved shirt, and gloves. Bring a handkerchief to protect your face. Hot embers or cinders can burn your skin if you come in contact with them. Smoke can make it difficult to breathe and damage breathing passages.
- Prepare your home and leave early. If you wait until the last minute, you place yourself at risk and also interfere with fire department response.
- Take your disaster supplies kit in which you have placed prescription medications for household members, as well as copies of essential papers and identification items. Also, if time permits, load your vehicle with other essential items that could not be replaced if they were destroyed by fire.
- Take your pets and your pet disaster supplies with you. Lock your home. There may be others who evacuate after you or return before you. Secure your home as you normally would.
- Call an out-of-town contact and tell them what has happened and where you are going. Choose a route away from the fire. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke. Staying as far away as possible will provide you with the greatest safety. Continue to listen to a local radio or television station for evacuation information.
For more information, contact the American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter or visit our web site at www.rainier-redcross.org.