FEMA recommends the following protections for your home: Regularly clean roof and gutters; inspect chimneys twice a year; install a smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near the bedrooms, and make sure you test the batteries monthly, and change at least annually; have an ABC fire extinguisher on hand and train every family member how to use it (PASS method); keep household tools like a rake, axe, chain saw, bucket and shovel on hand; have a ladder that can reach the roof. Create a 30-foot safety zone around your home by raking leaves, limbs and twigs and clearing flammable vegetation (remember to clean under structures like decks too). Remove dead tree branches that extend over the roof, and keep shrubs and branches at least 15 feet away from any stovepipes or chimney outlets. Remove any vines from the walls, and move the grass regularly. Keep a clear 10-foot area around propane tanks and barbecues.
For emergency preparation, keep a 72-hour survival kit on hand. I have one in every vehicle, and one in my office. Sign up for local emergency alerts in your area. You may also choose to use a scanner app and follow local emergency management agencies on social media. Make sure you understand the different levels of alerts & warnings. A Fire Weather Watch is issued by the National Weather Service when potentially dangerous fire weather conditions are possible in 12-72 hours. A Fire Weather / Red Flag Warning is issued when conditions currently exist and weather patterns support that wildfires are occurring or expected to occur within 24 hours.
During a fire event, a Level 1 is the first evacuation or protection Alert. This indicates a wildfire threat is in your area and be READY in the event an evacuation becomes necessary. Level 2 Evacuation Warning means there is a high probability of a need to evacuate, so be SET to evacuate. Level 3 Evacuation Order asks all occupants of the affected area to leave (GO) within a specified time period.
Now is the time for every company in a fire hazard region to complete training on Wildfire Safety to cover site specific plans. It is also a best practice to monitor smoke conditions, and have a plan in place for how to protect workers when air quality decreases.
Loria Holden, CSP