Does Your Family Have an Emergency Communication Plan if a Wildfire Strikes Your Area?

America’s PrepareAthon is a Campaign to Increase Preparedness
Audio: 
Tim Manning, Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness at FEMA and Ernest Mitchell, Jr., U.S. Fire Administrator at FEMA

(Washington, D.C., Thursday, April 28, 2016) – America’s PrepareAthon is a campaign to increase the number of individuals who understand which disasters could happen in their community, what to do to be safe and mitigate damage, and how to take action to increase their preparedness and participate in community resilience planning.

Wildfires can happen quickly with very little warning, and the effects can be devastating if you’re not prepared. There are a few important things you can do right now to make sure you’re ready for a possible wildfire.

Tim Manning, Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness at FEMA, talked recently about the importance of having an emergency plan in place. 

MANNING:

WHEN A WILDFIRE THREATENS YOUR COMMUNITY, YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO STOP AND THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU SHOULD GO AND ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO TAKE WITH YOU…LIKE INSURANCE DOCUMENTS, MEDICATION AND FAMILY PHOTOS. THAT’S WHY BEING PREPARED IS KEY.

THERE ARE SOME SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO MAKE SURE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE READY.

FIRST, IF YOU HAVE ONE, USE YOUR SMARTPHONE OR TABLET TO DOWNLOAD THE FEMA APP OR ANOTHER WEATHER APP FOR YOUR LOCAL AREA … AND MAKE SURE IT RECEIVES WARNINGS FROM THE WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM.

SECOND, KEEP YOUR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS IN A FIREPROOF, WATERPROOF BOX AND POSSIBLY STORE DIGITAL BACKUP COPIES AS WELL.

THIRD, TAKE A FEW MINUTES TODAY TO REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES OR CONTACT YOUR AGENT TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ADEQUATE COVERAGE. IT’S ALSO A GOOD IDEA TO TAKE AN INVENTORY OF WHAT’S IN YOUR HOME BY PHOTOGRAPHING EACH ROOM.

AND LASTLY, KNOW YOUR EVACUATION ROUTES AHEAD OF TIME AND HAVE A BACK-UP IN CASE YOUR PRIMARY ROUTE IS BLOCKED.  AND BE SURE TO LISTEN TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES FOR EVACUATION ORDERS IN YOUR AREA.

Ernest Mitchell, Jr., U.S. Fire Administrator at FEMA, talked recently about taking steps now to prepare for emergencies. 

MITCHELL:

WHEN IT COMES TO WILDFIRES, PREPAREDNESS IS CRITICAL TO REDUCING YOUR HOME’S RISK OF CATCHING ON FIRE.

FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU HAVE DEAD PLANTS AND SHRUBS CLOSE TO YOUR HOUSE, CLEAR THEM AWAY.

GET RID OF ANY DEBRIS ON YOUR ROOF AND BE SURE TO CLEAR LEAVES FROM YOUR GUTTERS AND PORCHES.  DRY PLANTS ARE FUEL FOR FIRE SO THE MORE OF IT YOU HAVE CLOSE TO YOUR HOME, THE GREATER THE RISK OF YOUR HOME CATCHING FIRE.

AND IF YOU DO A LOT OF LANDSCAPING OR CONSTRUCTION, MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING FIRE-RESISTANT MATERIALS TO REDUCE THE RISK.

DOING SOME BASIC MAINTENANCE WILL SIGNIFICANTLY DECREASE THE LIKELIHOOD YOUR HOUSE WILL CATCH FIRE.

For more information please visit community.fema.gov.

The campaign is coordinated by FEMA in collaboration with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, the private sector, and non-governmental organization.

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