Wildfire Evacuation Checklist: What to Do During a Wildfire

Wildfires are catastrophic and devastating events, falling victim to one of these events is nothing short of absolutely terrifying. Wildfires roll through extensive stretches of land and trees, obliterating life and property. According to National Geographic, more than 100,000 wildfires clear almost 2 million hectares of land per year, consuming everything in their path. If your property is near one of these destructive beasts, your level of preparedness can determine the outcome. A wildfire evacuation checklist can help prepare you for the unexpected and keep yourself and your family safe in a wildfire. This guide will teach you the actions that should be taken in order to adequately prepare for a wildfire. 

Here’s what we recommend:

1. Prepare Your Bugout Bag for Wildfires

The very first step in preparing for wildfires is assembling a bugout bag. The term ‘bugout bag’ refers to a packed bag that you should have ready to grab within a minutes notice in case of an emergency evacuation. Your size of bag should depend on how many members are in your family. 

Finding a good, durable bag is essential in a satisfactory bugout bag. We recommend some kind of duffle bag or even a mountaineer’s pack. The contents of your bag differ depending on the needs of you and your family, however the standard should be enough for 3 days worth of movement or evacuation. 

An emergency bag for wildfires should include:

  • 3 liters of water per person
  • Water bottle or waterskin
  • Water purification tablets or Lifestraw
  • Tent or tarp
  • First aid kit
  • Fire-making tools
  • Hygiene items and toiletries
  • Clothing and undergarments
  • Self-defense tools
  • Vital documents and identification
  • Emergency gear and tools
  • Cash

While this list may look like a daunting amount of items, remember that you just need enough for 3 days, so you don’t need to make a big stock. Pre-assembled bugout bags allow you to get out of harms way as soon as possible without the wasted time spent gathering materials last minute. 

2. Discuss an Evacuation Plan

Evacuation plans in the event of a wildfire should not be taken lightly and should be discussed with the people in your home ahead of time. If you have a family, you need to determine a way to communicate with one another if you are separated during an emergency. Your evacuation plan should include different meeting points, depending on the nature of the wildfire. Meaning you should se at least three locations where you can gather in case of separation. We recommend those locations include one that is nearby, one in a nearby city, and one near a landmark. 

The scope and extent of the disaster will be taken into account when locating the meeting point. Since wildfires can be as wide as dozens of kilometers, you should prepare for a nearby meeting place to have already been swallowed by the wildfires. In that event, your family will benefit from having alternate places to meet. 

Discuss with your family the different scenarios they need to expect, and what actions should be taken in each scenario. Three key attributes your meeting points should have are as follows:

  • close for quick meetups
  • near a landmark for easy detection
  • in a nearby city to have a location that is 100% wild fire-proof

In disasters phone service may not be reliable, so have maps ready at all times for your families use. Don’t forget your pets, and make sure to secure them as quickly as possible. 

3. Build a Fire-Ready House

Wildfire preparation begins before you even start living in your area. If you are planning to live in an area prone to wildfires, you want to live in a home built with fire retardant materials. This structure ensures your home is as safe from fire as possible.

Consider finding roofing and wall materials that don’t catch fire quickly. There is lumber treated with glass and fire retardants that don’t burn easily and make for a great structural bonus. Along with other fire-safe structural materials, there is also insulation filling that can work as a fire resistant coating. 

If possible, designate a general area in your home’s perimeter that you can set up against fire. This area should be defensible, so you shouldn’t have any light materials that can catch fire. This area is best executed if you can place it 30 meters away from your home. 

If your home has a shed, extended areas of housing, or another type of outdoor storage, make sure not to store anything flammable inside of them. This includes propane. We advise having a fire extinguisher accessible and ready to help calm small fires near your home. 

4. Get a Wildfire Preparedness Insurance

Residential insurance is one of the most important boxes you should check on your wildfire evacuation checklist. You want to make sure that your home or business has insurance that not only covers disasters, but also offers help with things such as fire damage restoration. 

Why is having your property insured a good way to prepare for wildfires?

Insurance allows you to recover from any type of disaster relatively seamlessly. Having insured your property gives you a way out in the event of an extensive fire breaking out. 

When it comes to finding a residential disaster recovery business, it is important to work with people that know what they are doing, and understand the industry. Your disaster recovery company and insurance company should work together to produce the best output for you.

5. Prep Your Automobile for Disaster

If you have an automobile, keep it in its best condition at all times. Your vehicle is the best and fastest way to get out of your locale and to safety as quickly as possible. Keeping your vehicle stocked at all times with emergency supplies is a great way to ensure you are always prepared to evacuate if needed. 

Similarly to your bugout bag, you should aim to stock as many emergency rations in your vehicle as possible. Add items that are non-perishable in storage, including shelter materials and canisters of fresh water. Refresh your stock every few months.

Keep the vehicle’s fuel up to at least half-full. This allows you to drive up to more than 100 km away from the wildfire, which should be enough to escape it and return.

Keep a Wildfire Evacuation Checklist Ready

When it comes to your wildfire evacuation checklist, preparation is crucial. Not only would you want to have emergency provisions, but you also want to make sure you can recover too. Prepare both your home and family for anything that may happen.

A wildfire or a similar disaster can strike any time. If you are a victim of such destruction, you need someone who can help you recover. That’s when you need BMS CAT.

Talk to us now and get the leaders in disaster recovery working for you. Get your life back from Mother Nature’s wrath. Let us help today.