Wildland Fire Preparedness
Santa Clarita Wildfires 2001 to 2004
Southern California is prime for another major fire disaster, due to a persistent drought, urban sprawl of communities encroaching into areas of wildland, and millions of acres of vegetation that have not burned in many years. Preparedness is the key to surviving wildland fires
- Follow all local building, fire, and hazard abatement codes.
- Install non-flammable screens with mesh one-half inch or less on chimneys.
- Keep roofs and rain gutters free of needles, leaves, or other debris.
- Enclose the underside of balconies and decks with fire-resistant material, such as aluminum decking.
- Enclose all roof eaves with fire resistant material, such as aluminum or steel, and place metal mesh over all attic or roof vents.
- Inspect and maintain chimneys and screens twice annually.
- Install a smoke detector on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms, and test them monthly.
- Clear the brush away from your home (a minimum of 30 feet - 200 feet).
- Trim all trees and tree branches away from electrical lines and chimneys. (Use a professional to trim near utilities and power lines.)
- Remove weak, dead, and leaning trees and bark beetle infested trees.
- Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your home or other structures.
- Store all combustible or flammable liquids in approved storage containers.
- Locate all propane tanks at least 30 feet from any structure.
Plan for Evacuation
- Ensure that your street is clearly marked and posted.
- Insure your house numbers are clearly visible, both day and night, from the street.
- Know at least two exit routes from your neighborhood in case of emergency
- Make sure large emergency vehicles can access your property.
Develop and practice a home evacuation plan. Your plan should include:
Work with neighbors to assist:
- A floor plan with all escape routes.
- Easily accessible exits for young children, seniors, and persons with disabilities. (Locate their rooms as close to exits as possible.)
- A list of valuables to take in an emergency. (Store them together in one location, if possible.)
- Identify the most important papers to take if you have to leave, such as insurance policies, medical records, and driver's license.
- Take medications and eyeglasses.
- A place to reunite after evacuation
- The location of animal shelters or other sites that house pets.
- Practice drills.
Work with local emergency officials to identify:
- People with special needs.
- People who need transportation to other sites
When Wildfire Approaches:
- Several routes out of your neighborhood.
- Likely evacuation sites or safe refuge areas.
- Listen to the radio or watch television for instructions.
- Evacuate as soon as directed by public safety officials or when danger is perceived.
- Park your vehicles facing the direction of escape with windows rolled up
- Place your disaster kit and evacuation kit along with valuables and other essentials in your vehicle.
- Secure pets and livestock, and prepare them for evacuation.
- Leave your electricity on and leave inside lights on.
- If time permits, cover up by wearing long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, goggles, cap, and bandana. 100% cotton is preferable.
- Close doors behind you when evacuating to slow down the flames, smoke, and heat.
- Help young children, seniors, and persons with disabilities to evacuate safely.