Red Cross urges residents to prepare for wildfire season
TUCSON (KVOA) – In the midst of wildfire season, Arizona is known as “Firearona”. With this, the American Red Cross is getting the word out to every resident to plan now for dangerous wildfires and potential power outages.
“After years in a row of record-breaking wildfires, this year it’s more important than ever to prepare now,” said Mike Sagara, public information manager, Southern Arizona Chapter. “Last year brought not only the pandemic, but massive wildfires in the west that left 37 people dead and more than $ 19 billion in damage. Forest fires are dangerous and can spread quickly, leaving you only a few minutes to evacuate. Protect your loved one; get ready now.
However, getting ready is easy thanks to the Red Cross.
The group came up with a simple list of steps residents can take to prepare for wildfires.
- Create an escape plan. Plan what to do if you are separated from your family during an emergency and need to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your job, and your community’s emergency plans. Plan multiple routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as needed, and schedule pets. If you already have an emergency plan, talk it over with family members again, so everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
- Build an emergency kit with one gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medication, infant supplies if applicable , a multi-tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important documents, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Due to the pandemic, include a mask for everyone in your household. If you already have a disaster kit, now is the time to make sure that food and water can still be consumed and that copies of important documents are up to date.
- To be informed. Find out how local authorities will contact you during a forest fire emergency and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.
- Download the free Red Cross emergency app to keep you and your loved ones safe with real-time alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and wildfire safety tips and other emergencies. To download the app, search for “American Red Cross” in your app store or go to redcross.org/apps.
SAFETY AND FIRE PREVENTION
- Be prepared to evacuate at all times and obey all evacuation orders from authorities.
- Post emergency phone numbers next to every phone in your home, and make sure everyone has those numbers on their cell phones.
- Do not drive on dry grass or brush. Hot components under your vehicle can start fires.
- Use the equipment responsibly. Lawn mowers, chainsaws, tractors, and trimmers can all start a forest fire.
- Be careful every time you use fire. Properly dispose of charcoal briquettes and fire pit ash, never leave outdoor fires unattended, and ensure outdoor fires are completely extinguished before leaving the area.
- If residential debris burning is permitted, use caution. After obtaining the necessary permits, make sure that burning is not currently restricted in your area.
- Store combustible or flammable materials in approved safety containers away from home.
- Find an outdoor water source such as a pond, well, even a swimming pool, and have a hose that can reach any area of your property.
- Create a fire-resistant area free of leaves, debris, or flammable materials at least 30 feet from your home.
- Regularly clean roofs and gutters.
- Make sure the driveway entrances and your house number are clearly marked so that fire vehicles can get to your home.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Red Cross has put in place procedures and resources to ensure the safety of those it serves and in its workplace, particularly with regard to the support it provides. ” it helps local communities during forest fire emergencies.
The Red Cross continues to provide the same kind of support after disasters as in the past, including making sure people have a safe place to stay, food to eat and resources to help them recover while remaining aligned with CDC recommended additional precautions and cleaning procedures.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written by Brendan Jacques.