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Wildfire Safety
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 Red Cross Resources

  • Wildfire Safety Checklist (English | Spanish)
  • Wildfire Preparedness Tips
Bay Area Resources
  • Alameda County Fire Department
  • City of Napa Fire Prevention
  • Contra Costa County Fire Prevention District
  • Marin County Fire Department
  • San Francisco Fire Department
  • San Mateo County Fire Service
  • Santa Clara County
  • Solano County Fire and Police Departments
  • Sonoma County Fire Chiefs Association
More and more people are making their homes in woodland settings, rural areas or remote mountain sites. There, residents enjoy the beauty of the environment but face the very real danger of wildfires. Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes. In a wildfire, every second counts!

The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter offers the following information to keep you and your loved ones safe should a wildfire strike your area:
Make a Plan
Reduce your risk by preparing now before a wildfire strikes. Follow the steps listed below to protect your family, home, and property.
  • Develop a Plan: Contact your local fire department, health department, or forestry office for information on fire laws. Make sure that fire vehicles can get to your home. Clearly mark all driveway entrances and display your name and address. Talk with members of your household about wildfires — how to prevent them and what to do if one occurs. Post fire emergency telephone numbers.
  • Determine Escape Routes: Plan several escape routes away from your home by car and by foot.
  • Decide Where to Meet: Select a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate. Identify an out-of-state “check-in contact” for everyone to contact.
  • Plan How the Neighborhood Could Work Together After a Wildfire: Make a list of your neighbors’ skills, such as medical or technical. Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as elderly or disabled persons. Make plans to take care of children who may be on their own if parents can't get home.
  • Protect Your Home: Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it. Regularly clean roofs and gutters. Report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildfire. Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well or swimming pool.
  • Create a 30- to 100-Foot Safety Zone Around Your Home: Within this area, you can take steps to reduce potential exposure to flames and radiant heat, such as dry leaves, and flammable objects. Contact your local fire department or forestry office for additional information.
Get a Kit
When a wildfire threatens, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. Assemble a disaster supplies kit with items you may need if advised to evacuate. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffle bags, or trashcans. Include:
  • Non-perishable Food: Pack items such as energy bars, canned soup or peanut butter.
  • One Gallon of Water Per Person Per Day
  • First Aid Kit and Medications
  • Flashlight, Battery-operated or Crank Radio, Essential Tools and Maps
  • Clothing and Sturdy Shoes
  • Personal Items and Sanitary Supplies: Pack important documents, hygiene supplies and comfort items such as books and toys.
  • Cash in Small Denominations
  • Emergency Contact Information
Be Informed
Learn how to protect yourself and get training to help others before, during and after a wildfire.

What to Do in Case of Reported Wildfire
  • Listen to your battery-operated radio for reports and evacuation information. Follow the instructions of local officials.
  • Always back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine pets to one room. Make plans to care for your pets in case you must evacuate.
  • Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relative's home outside the threatened area.
  • Limit exposure to smoke and dust. Listen and watch for air quality reports and health warnings about smoke.

If Advised to Evacuate, Do So Immediately

  • Wear protective clothing including sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and a handkerchief to protect your face.
  • Take your disaster supplies kit.
  • Lock your home.
  • Tell someone when you left and where you are going.
  • Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.

Returning Home After a Wildfire

  • Do not enter your home until fire officials say it is safe.
  • Use caution when entering: Wear leather gloves and heavy soled shoes to protect hands and feet as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning.
  • Follow public health guidance on safe cleanup of fire ash and safe use of masks.
  • Wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Ensure your food and water are safe before using. Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot. Do NOT ever use water that you think may be contaminated.

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