How to Stay Safe if your Home is Near a Wild Fire | Carson Tahoe Health

How to Stay Safe if your Home is Near a Wild Fire

With fire season in full swing, it is important to always have a plan should one occur in your area. Here are some tips for keeping safe during a wildfire, as well as help protect you and your house as best you can.


Before a Wildfire:

-If you see a wildfire, always call 9-1-1. Don’t assume someone already has.

-Always have a disaster kit ready as well as an emergency evacuation plan, and make sure everyone in the household knows it as well.


Before The Fire Approaches Your House:

-Evacuate your pets or anyone with medical or physical limitations and the youngest immediately.

-Wear protective clothing, i.e. clothes that aren’t extremely flammable such as polyester or screen-printed shirts.

-Clear as many items as your can from around the house that could burn, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc.

-Close all doors inside the house to prevent draft and remove all flammable drapes and curtains. Close all shutters, blinds or heavy non-combustible window coverings to reduce radiant heat.

-Shut off any natural gas, propane or fuel oil supplies at the source.

-Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs or other large containers with water.

-Place a ladder against the house in clear view.

-Back your car out of the driveway and roll up the windows.

-Disconnect any automatic garage door openers so that doors can still be opened by hand if the power goes out. Close all garage doors.

-Place valuable papers, mementos and anything “you can’t live without” inside the car or garage, ready for quick departure.


Prepare to Leave:

-Turn on outside lights and leave a light on in every room to make the house more visible in heavy smoke.

-Leave doors and windows closed but unlocked. It may be necessary for firefighters to gain quick entry into your home to fight fire.


If Caught in the Open During a Wild Fire:

-On a mountainside, the back side is safer.

-If a road is nearby, lie face down along the road cut or in the ditch on the uphill side. Cover yourself with anything that will shield you from the fire’s heat.

-If hiking in the back country, seek a depression with sparse fuel. Clear fuel away from the area while the fire is approaching and then lie face down in the depression and cover yourself. Stay down until after the fire passes.


After a Wildfire:

-Check the roof immediately. Put out any roof fires, sparks or embers. Check the attic for hidden burning sparks.

-For several hours after the fire, maintain a “fire watch.” Re-check for smoke and sparks throughout the house.