If wildfire is threatening your home and you need to evacuate:

• Wear only cotton or wool clothes. Proper attire includes long pants, long-sleeved shirt or jacket, and boots.

• Carry gloves, a handkerchief to cover your face, water to drink and goggles.

• Keep a flashlight and portable radio with you at all times. Tune in to a local radio station and listen for instructions.

• If possible, evacuate all family members not essential to preparing the house for wildfire first. Make sure to designate a safe meeting place and a contact person.

• Relay your plans to the contact person. Evacuate pets.

• Place vehicles in the garage, pointing out, with keys in the ignition. Roll up the windows. Close the garage door, but leave it unlocked.

• If applicable, disconnect the electric garage door opener so that the door can be opened manually.

• Grab important documents (bank, IRS, trust, investment, insurance policy, birth certificates, medical records.) Credit and ATM cards. Medications. Prescription glasses. Driver's license. Passport. Computer backup files. Inventory of home contents (consider videotaping if there's time). Address book. Cell phone and charger. Personal toiletries. Change of clothing. Family photo albums and videos. Family heirlooms. Place essential items in the car.

• Close all interior doors. Leave a light on in each room. Remove lightweight, nonfire-resistant curtains and other combustible materials from around windows.

• Close fire-resistant drapes, shutters and Venetian blinds. Turn off all pilot lights. Move overstuffed furniture, such as couches and easy chairs, to the center of the room.

• Place combustible patio furniture in the house or garage. Shut off propane at the tank or natural gas at the meter. Close all exterior vents if possible.

• Prop a ladder against the house to provide firefighters with easy access to the roof. Make sure that all garden hoses are connected to faucets and attach nozzles set on "spray."

• Close all exterior doors and windows. Leave exterior doors unlocked. Turn on outside lights.

• If available, and if there's time, cover windows, attic openings and vents with plywood that is at least one-half inch thick. Wet down wood shake or shingle roofs before leaving.

• Fill trash cans and buckets with water and place where firefighters can find them. If you have an emergency water source (pool, pond, etc.) and/or portable pump, clearly mark the availability so it can be seen from the street.

Source: Living With Fire. For more information, go to www.livingwithfire.info.


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