Here in California, we have experienced some devastating wildfires, even our co-workers at Source Intelligence have been personally affected by these deadly fires. Here are 7 tips and tricks for staying safe during a wildfire:

1. Cleaning

Make sure that your house or land is cleared of dead leaves/foliage, wood piles or newspapers. Also regularly clean out gutters or any excess trash that could have lingered around front/back yard.

2. Having an evacuation plan

If children are present in the home, have a plan on where to evacuate and the location of shelters that will house evacuees. Make sure all electronics are charged and ready to go in case of an emergency or in need to contact family or friends.

3. Staying up to date on fire weather watch

A Fire Weather Watch is an alert issued by the National Weather Service and will alert you about the weather conditions within your area. If you have received an alert make sure to turn on your television or radio to stay updated and to receive emergency instructions and start preparing to evacuate. 

4. Limiting your exposure to smoke

Most people tend to forget about the exposure of smoke during a wildfire, the Center for Disease Control states, “Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. This smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.” If a wildfire is close, make sure all windows and doors are closed and try to avoid any outdoor air. If you are outside then trying to cover your mouth and nose with a damp rag.

5. Leaving immediately if evacuation is ordered

If you have received an order to leave or believe that your area is next to be evacuated then leave early to beat traffic. Don’t linger or start to pack up belongings, get family and pets and leave immediately. The National Fire Protection Association explains, “Promptly leaving your home and neighborhood clears roads for firefighters to get equipment in place to fight the fire, and helps ensure residents’ safety.”

6. Do not return home until authorities say it is clear to do so

Even if the wildfire has ended, do not return back to your home until authorities have said so. Do not assume that your area is safe to return to, just wait until you have received the all-clear. If you smell smoke then evacuate immediately and call 911.

7. Clean your home

When you have given the all-clear to return to your home, clean away any debris that might have entered your home. Wear a NIOSH-certified dust mask to eliminate any risk of breathing in contaminated air. Remove any food that has been exposed to smoke or debris and do not drink any contaminated water.

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