How to survive a wildlife emergency?
As of this writing, wildfires are burning their way through Hawaii, taking the island of Maui and it’s residents completely by surprise. Our thoughts are with those currently being affected by this tragic natural disaster, including those of the families of people who lost their lives from this fire.
Unfortunately, these kinds of natural disasters, that just a few years ago were considered once in a lifetime events, are starting to occur more frequently, which means being prepared is a must.
We’ve actually written multiple articles on the topic, including our best mask for wildfires article, our article on how it impacts air quality and your health, and at what air quality you may need a mask.In this post, we are taking a step back, and want to talk a bit more on steps you can take to help prepare yourself and your loved ones from a potential wildfire emergency.
“Prepping for a wildfire”
When you hear the word “preppers”, you probably think of “doomsday prepping” or prepping for WW3 or the end of the world. However, emergencies can happen at any scale and without warfare. One of these emergencies is a wildfire. Three things you can do to make sure you are prepared TODAY for the next wildfire emergency:
- Understand if your area is “at risk” of a potential wildfire. Although wildfires can occur throughout most of the globe, some places in the US are more prone to wildfires than others. Most wildfires occur in California, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, and Hawaii.
- Start preparing your wildfire emergency kit. Assemble a 72-hour emergency kit with essentials like water, non-perishable food, medications, first aid supplies, a gas mask, fire blanket, clothing, flashlight, batteries, and important documents.
- Create an emergency escape plan with your family. Communicate with your loved ones and make sure everyone knows where to meet up in case of a wildfire. Don’t forget if you need to evacuate the area, how you are going to get to where you need to go and consider where you might stay once you escape the wildfire area.
“Top States with the highest rates of wildfires”
In the US alone, each year about 60,000 wildfires burn 8 million acres (https://www.policygenius.com/homeowners-insurance/wildfires-by-state/). However, the majority of these occur in the specific states below, ranked from most likely to have a wildfire to least.
1. California: California is particularly prone to wildfires due to its Mediterranean climate, which brings dry and hot conditions during the summer and fall. The state's extensive wildland-urban interface also increases the risk of fires impacting populated areas.
2. Texas: Texas has a diverse range of ecosystems, including grasslands, shrublands, and forests, which can all be susceptible to wildfires, especially during drought conditions.
3. Colorado: Colorado's mountainous terrain and forests make it prone to wildfires, often exacerbated by dry conditions and lightning strikes.
4. Arizona: Arizona's arid climate and desert vegetation contribute to the occurrence of wildfires, particularly during periods of drought and high temperatures.
5. Idaho: Idaho's forests and grasslands are at risk of wildfires, often ignited by lightning strikes.
6. Washington: Like Oregon, Washington state experiences wildfires primarily in its forests and grasslands, especially in the eastern part of the state.
7. Oregon: Oregon's forests, especially in the eastern part of the state, are susceptible to wildfires, particularly during dry and windy conditions.
8. Montana: Montana's forests, particularly in the western part of the state, are vulnerable to wildfires, particularly during hot and dry periods.
9. Nevada: Nevada's vast areas of rangeland and desert can experience wildfires, especially during dry and windy conditions.
10. Utah: Utah experiences higher lightning storms on average than most states. Combine this with the dry conditions of Utah during the summer months, and you get a natural ignitor for a wildfire.
“Should people in other states prepare for wildfires?”
Absolutely. Some could argue that states that don’t normally feel the effects of a wildfire are the ones where the deadliest ones occur. This is because residents aren’t trained or prepare for such an occurrence. We recommend everyone make sure they have a universal emergency kit that includes things that may be needed in case of multiple natural disasters, including wildfires.
“Wildfire emergency kits, safety supplies, and survival gear”
Now that you’ve identified your area may be at risk for a wildfire, what should you make sure you have in case of a wildfire emergency?
Gas Masks, Canisters, and Filters
Having a gas mask rated for smoke filtration, includes a drinking straw, and a built in radio is ideal for a wildfire situations. The best option is a supplied air respirator, but if you are just using a gas mask for emergency escape and oxygen levels are greater than >19%, then you can get away with an APR. We recommend our NB-100E as it comes right of the box with our highest rated DefensePro N-B-1 filter canister, a drinking straw (and we sell a canteen with it), and a build in radio and electronic voice amplifier so you can talk to your loved ones without removing the mask.
Water, Hydration, and Non-Perishable Foods
The #1 thing you will need is plenty of water to stay hydrated should you be forced to evacuate your home. In addition to water, we recommend making sure you have non-perishable foods for your travels away from the wildfire – a great option here is getting a kit from ReadyWise – they offer a great selection of non-perishable foods that can be cooked pretty much anywhere. (https://readywise.com/).
Medications and First Aid Kits
You Should make sure you pack away medications and have a first aid kit ready to go in case of a wildfire. MyMedic actually has a variety of kits and med packs that include burn relief gels, burn bandages, etc. Check out their best selling kit (https://mymedic.com/products/myfak-firstaidkit).
Clothing and Personal Items & Documents
Finally, make sure your important documents, personal items, hygiene items, and spare clothing is packed up. If you are looking for fire protection gear, Parcil Safety also offers fire escape blankets and fire escape cloaks, to help protect your body wild evacuating a wildfire area. (Check out the collection - https://parcilsafety.com/collections/fire-safety-devices).
“Creating an Emergency Escape Plan”
Creating a wildfire emergency escape plan is crucial to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones in the event of a wildfire. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create an effective escape plan:
Know Your Area:
Understand the wildfire risk in your area. Research local history of wildfires, terrain, and prevailing wind directions.
Map Your Escape Routes:
Identify multiple escape routes from your home and community. Consider roads, highways, and backroads that lead to safe areas.
Plan Primary and Alternate Meeting Points:
Designate primary and secondary meeting points where your family can gather after evacuating. Choose locations outside the potential fire danger zone.
Communicate and Practice:
Discuss the escape plan with all family members, including children. Practice your escape routes and meeting points through drills and simulations. Make sure everyone knows how to escape from various rooms in the house.
Keep a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities, family members, friends, and neighbors, in your escape plan.
Review and Update:
Regularly review and update your escape plan based on changes in your family, neighborhood, or local conditions.
“What should you do in the aftermath of a wildfire?”
After a wildfire occurs, you will still need to be cautious and try and wait for official clearance. Once the all clear is given, address any health concerns, assess any damage occurred from the wildfire, contact your insurance company and make sure your utilities and infrastructures are working properly. If needed, seek assistance and cover areas to prevent further damage.
Wildfires can be scary, but know you aren’t alone and that there are people willing to help. But being prepared can make sure you a ready in case a wildfire occurs. Just remember, “Hope for the best, but Prepare for the worse” and you will be ready for the next natural disaster.