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Keep your family safe this wildfire season

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The Red Cross of Montana and Greater Idaho urges everyone to be prepared this wildfire season. Follow the steps below to keep yourself, your family and your property safe.

What should I do to prepare ahead of time?

Keep the areas surrounding your home clear of brush, debris and other materials that may catch fire.

Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply. Don’t forget to include critical documents, medications and food and water for your entire family. 

Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing your direction of escape.

Keep your pets in one room so you can find them quickly if you have to evacuate.

What should I do if there are reports of wildfires in my area?

Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.

Limit exposure to smoke and dust. Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in. Use the recycle mode on the air conditioner in your home or car. If you don’t have air conditioning and it’s too hot to be inside, seek shelter somewhere else. If smoke levels are high, don’t use anything that burns and adds to air pollution inside such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.

Don’t wait, evacuate

If ordered to evacuate, leave immediately and head to your identified shelter – this can be with family or friends, or a hotel, Red Cross shelter or other location.

How to find a shelter

To find a shelter or other help, follow your local media or go to redcross.org and check the shelter map. People can also find a shelter by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

Everyone is welcome at Red Cross shelters. The Red Cross delivers help to whoever needs it regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or citizenship status. The Red Cross is working with partners to provide care for evacuated pets. Anyone who needs a safe place to stay should come to an evacuation shelter, and suitable accommodations will be found for household pets. Service animals and therapy pets are welcome at Red Cross shelters.

Returning home after a wildfire

Don’t enter your home until fire officials say it’s safe.

Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards might still exist, including hot spots which can flare up without warning.

Visit www.redcross.org for more information on how to make an emergency kit.

Stay connected with loves ones

Visit the Red Cross Safe and Well website at redcross.org/safeandwell to reconnect with loved ones. The site allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations also can be completed by texting SAFE to 78876.

You can also use the “I’m Safe” feature of the Red Cross Emergency App to let loved ones know your status.

How you can help

You can help people affected by disasters big and small, like wildfires and countless other crises, by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.