(KGTV) - Navigating a wildfire evacuation can be confusing, chaotic, and gravely important when a wildfire strikes.
Homeowners should have an emergency kit set to go. If not, here are some tips on what to get ready in a kit and what to pack.
After belongings are ready to go, there are a few things to make sure of while leaving the home (time permitting.)
First, make sure all doors and windows inside the home are shut but unlocked. Also, homeowners should:
- Remove flammable window shades, curtains, and close metal shutters.
- Remove lightweight curtains.
- Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
- Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights.
- Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
- Shut off the air conditioning.
Outside, Cal Fire recommends homeowners leave the hose attached to water spigots and buckets of water out for firefighters.It also helps firefighters to leave a ladder outside should they need to gain access to the roof of a home.
Also, sprinklers and water should not be left on as it could affect water pressure for firefighters.
Some other recommendations include:
- Gather flammable items from around the house and bring them inside or place them in a pool.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.
- Leave exterior lights on so firefighters can see your home in the smoke or darkness.
- Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
- Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation. Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened.
- Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.
Cal Fire recommends homeowners leave as soon as evacuation orders are given or if they feel they need to leave the area beforehand. Authorities will use both "mandatory" and "voluntary" to describe their evacuation orders, in order to alert residents to the significance of the fire danger.
No one should return to their residence until fire officials deem it safe to return.
When you return home, be aware of dangers that may have been left behind, such as:
- Downed power lines.
- Checking propane tanks, regulators, and lines before turning gas on.
- Checking your home for hidden embers and smoldering fires.