What can communities do to stay safe during a fire?

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Mitigate property damage and ensure resident protection and safety in a wildfire event.

Safety and evacuation 

Follow your disaster preparedness plan

Follow the plan and continue to communicate with constituents. Keep the community aware of where the fire is moving and continually update evacuation routes as needed.

Safety zones

Consider designating “last resort” safety zones within your community and along evacuation routes. Work with first responders to be sure adequate communication about the safety zones is provided to residents. Source.

Public health

Smoke preparedness 

It’s important to continue to track not only the fire but the smoke. Smoke inhalation can be extremely dangerous to everyone but especially pregnant women, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions. Continue to communicate the risks and keep constituents aware of dangerous smoke conditions. AirNow is one resource communities refer residents to when monitoring air quality during a wildfire (www.airnow.gov). 

In areas more prone to wildfires, consider working with state and local public health agencies to run pre-season PSAs to prepare residents so they understand how to mitigate their risk from smoke. Include safety measures for at-risk populations, such as people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and pregnant women. Source. 

Wildfire response

Emergency response

Deploy emergency responders to complete fuel reduction projects to protect vulnerable communities. Rapidly assess and map the severity and impact of the damage. Map and evaluate the status of critical infrastructure and facilities. Identify open routes to aid search and rescue operations.

Search and rescue missions

If community members were not able to evacuate in time, make sure you actively seek out and find any missing persons and/or animals stuck in areas impacted by the wildfire. 

Update mapping and communications

When a fire occurs, government workers can quickly update fire maps and communications so that community members know which areas are affected and should be avoided, as well as the ability to view evacuation routes and the location of emergency services. 

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