How to Prepare for Wildfires in California: Best Escape Plan for Your Apartment

Wildfire Evacuation Plan

With the California wildfires seemingly never-ending, be sure you have made a plan should you find yourself in your apartment community if and when the next fire strikes in your area. If you didn’t look when touring your apartment community, make sure you know where the fire alarms, smoke detectors, hoses and escape routes are. On a higher floor? Where are the stairs and if they are blocked by fire or smoke, do you have an alternate exit strategy? Count the number of doors between your apartment and the nearest exit, and memorize the number in case you have to evacuate in the dark.

Have kids, spouses, roommates who live with you? Keep a checklist such as this one handy and make sure everyone you live with has a plan on where to meet should disaster strike when you’re not together. For wildfires specifically, open parking lots away from trees is a safe bet.

Make an Emergency Kit – while you can certainly order an emergency kit online, it’s always  good to have:

  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Face masks
  • Flashlights
  • Cash
  • A whistle
  • Batteries
  • Matches, lighters and flight
  • A pocket knife
  • Battery-operated radios
  • First aid items: burn cream, gauze, aspirin, scissors, sanitary wipes, gloves and antibiotic cream

What to Bring When You Evacuate – if you have time to pack, it’s good to keep all of your important documents in one place so that you can just grab a single folder. Keep these in a plastic, waterproof case. You may need to prove who you are, so it’s important you carry identification with you always.

  • Your driver’s license
  • Proof of insurance
  • Medical records
  • Passports
  • Social security cards
  • Important phone numbers/contacts in case you lose your phone, it’s damaged or out of charge

Try Not to Run on Fumes – during wildfire season, try to always have at least a half tank of gas. If you have to leave in a hurry and get stuck in traffic trying to flee, running out of gas can really make a bad day, worse.

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