Wildfires may seem like one of those disasters that won’t happen close to home – but it’s very possible. On Monday, May 7, wildfires popped up off of Gulf Beach Highway in Pensacola, Florida. These fires popped up quickly and unexpectedly and began approaching homes. The neighborhood was ordered to evacuate while our police officials and fire fighter’s worked to keep people, pets, and homes safe.
Emergencies like this may seem like ones that cannot be prepared for, but there are many steps you can take to make sure you keep your family safe. Preparation is the first step.
Before a wildfire occurs near your home:
– Know your risk
– Become familiar with local emergency plans and text/email alert systems to stay connected
– Have a plan for you and your family
– Update your emergency preparedness kit (flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, etc.)
To protect and reduce the chances of your home taking fire damage:
– Regularly clean your roof and gutters
– Keep a 30′ radius free of flammable ‘clutter’ such as wood piles, newspapers, piles of leaves, etc
– Review your homeowner’s insurance policy and prepare/update the list of your home’s contents
– Designate a closed off room as a safe space – free of outside air with a portable air cleaner
During a wildfire:
– Be ready to evacuate on short notice
– If you see a fire and have not received orders to evacuate – call 9-1-1, do not assume someone else has already reported it
– If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately and be sure to inform someone of where you’re going and when you’ve arrived
– If you or someone is burned, seek help immediately; cool and cover the burn to reduce the risk of further injury and infection
– If not ordered to evacuate but there are smoky conditions, go inside or go somewhere safe that is smoke-free or has lower smoke levels
After a wildfire, only return home once authorities have said it’s safe to do so. Continue to maintain a ‘fire watch’ for several hours after the fire, as well as check for smoke, sparks, or hidden embers through your home – including the roof and attic. If you smell smoke in your home, evacuate immediately and report it. If any food was out during the evacuation period or while smoke or heat was in the home/area, discard it. Do NOT use water you believe to be contaminated for any reason, and be sure to photograph your property for insurance purposes – only when it is safe to do so.
The threat of wildfires is very real and should be taken seriously. If your home is damaged by smoke and/or fire, please reach out to Complete DKI as we have the necessary equipment and training to make sure your home gets back to pre-loss conditions, and you are safe and out of harm’s way. We’re available 24/7 because we understand emergencies happen without warning, and we’re here for you.
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