BeReadyWildfires Media {BeReady-Wildfires.mp4} Metrics {time:ms;} Spec {MSFT:1.0;}

"Be Ready" Wildfires

[Air Force Emergency Management logo] [music]

[Various b-roll shots of natural and man-made disasters]

[Be Ready logo] "Wildfires"

Corey Dobridnia: "This presentation is part of a series to make you aware of the emergencies that

could affect your installation or local community, and the steps you can take to 'be ready'.

Wildfires are a serious threat to lives and property.

Drought, high winds, dry plants, and trees can increase the chance of a fire.

Every year across the world, wildfires consume vast amounts of land, homes, and businesses near them.

If you live near a forested or wild land area, you face the real danger of wildfires.

According to the National Interagency Coordination Center, there are typically

more than 60 thousand wildfires reported each year that burn millions of acres.

The Rim Fire, California's third largest wildfire, occurred in 2013 and burned more than 250 thousand acres,

and caused over 127 million dollars in damage. A wildfire is any uncontrolled fire in combustible

vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Leaves, dead limbs,

grasslands, twigs, and pine needles are ideal accelerants for fires to start.

Once ignited, the fire spreads quickly and is driven by the wind and combustible terrain.

Most wildfires are caused by lightning, however a significant amount are attributed to human activity.

Aside from the main fire itself, ash and embers lifted by the wind and heat fall to

the earth and continuously drift the wildfire. This is how fires can spread rapidly,

without warning, past physical barriers like roads, waterways, and fire breaks.

Injuries sustained from wildfires can come from direct contact with flames, the radiant heat,

smoke inhalation, and from burning ash and embers. Advanced planning and knowing how

to protect yourself and your property can lessen the devastation of a wildfire.

There are several safety precautions that you can take to reduce the risk of fire losses.

Protecting your home from wildfire is your responsibility. To reduce the risk,

you ll need to consider the fire resistance of your home, the topography of your property, and

the kind of vegetation nearby. Creating a 30-100 foot safety zone around your home will prevent

the fire from coming right up to your house. Certain actions before the fire arrives at your

location can lessen the devastation of a wildfire. Evacuate pets and family members

not needed in the preparation of the home. Anyone with medical or physical limitations,

the young, and the elderly should be evacuated immediately. Clear any items that will burn away

from your house. These include wood piles, lawn furniture, and grills. Move them far enough away,

so that they are outside your defensible space, or safety zone. Close any outside openings;

like eaves, basement vents, windows, and doors. Remove flammable drapes or curtains,

and close any shutters or blinds. This will reduce the radiant heat coming

from the fire, easily igniting combustibles in your home. Close all doors inside your home to

prevent the draft that could pull the fire in. Open the damper on your fireplace, but keep the screen

closed so hot embers do not enter your house. And be sure to shut off any natural gas, propane, or

oil being supplied to your home at the source. Have emergency water available in case you need

to extinguish any small fires. Keep garden hoses connected and fill any available pools, hot tubs,

garbage cans, or other large containers with water. If you have any gas-powered pumps for water,

make sure they are fueled and ready. If the need arises or you are told to evacuate,

have your vehicle backed into your garage or driveway with the windows up,

this will allow you to leave faster. You should also close your garage and disconnect automatic

garage door openers so they can still be opened by hand if the power goes out.

In the event that you are in the vehicle during a wildfire, you need to stay inside.

You can survive from a firestorm if you stay in your vehicle because it is much less dangerous

than trying to run from a fire on foot. If you have to stay inside your vehicle,

be sure to roll up your windows, close all air vents, and keep your headlights on. As you drive,

watch for other vehicles and pedestrians and do not drive through heavy smoke.

If you have to stop driving, park away from heavy trees and brush, keep your headlights on,

windows up, and air vents closed. Then you need to get on the floor of your vehicle and

cover yourself with a heavy coat or blanket. Air currents may rock your vehicle and some

smoke and sparks may enter, but stay covered and on the floor. Even though the temperatures

will rise inside the vehicle, metal gas tanks and other containers rarely explode. It is very

important that you stay in your vehicle! If you find yourself trapped by wildfire

inside your home, stay inside and away from outside walls. Close all the doors and be

sure to keep them unlocked. Have your family gather together and try to remain calm.

If you are outside as a wildfire approaches, avoid areas that will fuel the fire and try

to find a low area to take shelter in, like a roadside ditch or ravine. You will want to lie

face down and cover yourself with anything that would shield you from the heat.

After the wildfire moves on or is extinguished, you need to check your home immediately, but only

if it is safe to do so. Be sure to check your roof and attic for fires, sparks, or embers. If a fire is

noticed, get assistance from your neighbors to put it out. The water you put into your pool or hot tub,

and other containers will come in handy now. For several hours after the fire, maintain a fire

watch to see if the fire ignites again. Re-check for smoke and sparks throughout the house.

Having an established emergency supply kit and emergency plan will also help you be prepared.

Water is one of the most important items in your kit. Your kit needs to have at least one gallon

of water per person, per day for at least three to five days. Don t forget about your pets.

You can survive for eight weeks without food but only three to five days without water.

Also, have a radio available so you can tune into local news broadcasts and gather important information.

Remember to have extra batteries too! Make sure your first aid kit is sufficiently stocked to

handle any medical emergency you may encounter. Some of these items can also be found inside your home.

Include special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact

lens solution, or hearing-aid batteries. A good resource for information is

the Air Force's 'Be Ready' Mobile App. It has an emergency supply kit listing, important

links, and contact information. It's an extremely useful tool to have on your mobile device.

 

Hopefully this information has helped you better prepare for what to do before, during,

and after a wildfire. For more information, please take the time to visit your installation's Office

of Emergency Management, the 'Be Ready' web site, download the 'Be Ready' Mobile App, or pick up an

Air Force Emergency Preparedness Guide. This has been Corey Dobridnia reporting for the Emergency

Management Division of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center. Stay Safe and Be Ready!"

[Be Ready logo] www.BeReady.af.mil