A wildfire can spread very quickly, leaving you little time to get to safety. The American Red Cross offers these safety steps people should follow:
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and obey all evacuation orders from officials.
- Back your car into the garage or park it outside, facing the direction of your evacuation route.
- Confine pets to one room, so you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
- Limit exposure to smoke and dust. Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
- Don’t use anything that burns, such as candles, fire places and gas stoves.
If you’re trapped outdoors, crouch in a pond, river or pool.
- Don’t put wet clothing or bandanas over your mouth or nose, as moist air can cause more damage to your airway than dry air at the same temperature.
- If there is no body of water, look for shelter in a cleared area or among a bed of rocks. Lie flat, face down, and cover your body with soil. Breathe the air close to the ground to avoid scorching your lungs or inhaling smoke.
Don’t return home until officials say it’s safe to do so.
- Inspect the roof immediately, and extinguish any sparks or embers. Wildfires may have left embers that could reignite.
- Check your home for embers that could cause fires. Look for signs of a fire including smoke or sparks.
- Avoid damaged or downed power lines, poles and wires.
- Keep your animals under your direct control. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn them.
- Wet down debris to minimize breathing in dust particles.
- Wear leather gloves and shoes with heavy soles.
- Throw out any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
Download the Red Cross Emergency App for real-time alerts, open shelters and expert advice on wildfires.
- The Emergency App includes an “I’m Safe” feature that help people check on loved ones.
- Search “American Red Cross” in app stores, or go to redcross.org/apps.
Visit redcross.org/wildfire for full wildfire safety information