Forced to evacuate? Here’s what to do
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Take your disaster supply kit, lock your home and choose a route away from the fire hazard.
Watch for changes in the speed and direction of the fire and smoke.
Tell someone when you left and where you are going.
If you see a wildfire and haven’t received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1.
Don’t assume someone else has already called.
Describe the location of the fire, speak slowly and clearly and answer any questions asked by the dispatcher.
If you are not ordered to evacuate and have time to prepare your home, FEMA recommends you take the following actions:
- Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area in case you need to evacuate.
- Wear protective clothing when outside – sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothes, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face.
- Gather fire tools such as a rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket and shovel.
- Close outside attic, eaves and basement vents, windows, doors, pet doors, etc. Remove flammable drapes and curtains. Close all shutters, blinds or heavy non-combustible window coverings to reduce radiant heat.
- Close all doors inside the house to prevent draft. Open the damper on your fireplace, but close the fireplace screen.
- Shut off any natural gas, propane or fuel oil supplies at the source.
- Connect garden hoses to outdoor water faucet and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs or other large containers with water.
- Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above-ground fuel tanks. Leave sprinklers on and dowsing these structures as long as possible. Be mindful of water use restrictions for areas affected by wildfires.
- If you have gas-powered pumps for water, make sure they are fueled and ready.
- Place a ladder against the house in clear view.
- Disconnect any automatic garage door openers so that doors can still be opened by hand if the power goes out. Close all garage doors.
- Place valuable papers, mementos and anything “you can’t live without” inside the car in the garage, ready for quick departure. Any pets still with you should also be put in the car.
- Place valuables that will not be damaged by water in a pool or pond.
- Move flammable furniture into the center of the residence away from the windows and sliding-glass doors.
- Turn on outside lights and leave a light on in every room to make the house more visible in heavy smoke.