You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Safety First When Wildfires or Extreme Heat Hit Your Community

Rocky Fire Response
If someone is an area where wildfires are possible, they should follow these safety steps

The Dog Days of Summer are bringing different weather challenges to people across the country as wildfires consume thousands of acres out west and record-breaking heat has lots of us breaking out in a sweat. The American Red Cross has safety steps people can follow if faced with either weather situation.


There are so many wildfires burning right now, officials have raised the preparedness level to the highest – Level 5 – which means there may not be enough resources to battle the fires. It is only the fifth time the country has reached this level in the last ten years. The USDA Forest Service reports there are 176 new fires and 95 fires which remain uncontained. Critical fire weather will continue out west for the next several days.

Red Cross workers have shelters open in California, Oregon and Washington for people forced to leave their homes as fire threatens their neighborhood. The Red Cross is also providing meals and health and mental health services and helping evacuees contact their loved ones through the Red Cross Safe and Well web site.

If someone is an area where wildfires are possible, they should follow these safety steps:

  • If a wildfire threatens, be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
  • Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
  • Always back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine pets to one room or spot so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area.
  • Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
  • Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
  • When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor air pollution, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.

    It’s August and much of the country is experiencing warmer temperatures with excessive heat warnings up for parts of California, Nevada and Arizona. Follow these safety tips when the temperatures rise:

  • HOT CARS CAN BE DEADLY Never leave children or pets in your vehicle.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing..
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
  • If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).
  • For more information on how to stay safe during the current heat, including signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, visit the Red Cross heat wave safety information.

    DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP Everyone can also download the free Red Cross Emergency App which combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe, including information about what to do in case of wildfires, extreme heat and more. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.