As Coloradans are aware, wildfires can strike at any time. Fire fighting resources will be limited. Are you and your family ready? Perry Park, Colorado, a longtime recognized Firewise Community/USA, has taken steps to assist its homeowners by sending out an evacuation map that included tips on preparing for evacuation. They suggested residents be ready and plan for wildfire by remembering the six “P’s”. These are:
- People and Pets- Have a plan. Do you know at least two ways out of your community? Where will you meet family after evacuation? Where will you stay and how will you contact each other? Where will your pets stay?
- Papers, phone numbers, and important documents. Deeds, birth certificates and other irreplaceable documents should be in one location so these can be grabbed at a moment’s notice.
- Prescriptions, eyeglasses, and vitamins. You may be gone from your home for days, so insure you have access to all your health related items.
- Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia. These are priceless and could be lost forever.
- Personal computers or any information stored on hard drives and disks.
- Plastic including credit cards, ATM cards and cash.
At their Firewise Community Meeting on May 5th, the fire chief added a seventh P: Patience. Evacuating will be stressful. Roads will be jammed. Communicating with loved ones will be difficult. Having a plan and being prepared will help reduce your stress level. Your family and pets will pick up on your stress level, too.
Don’t wait until a wildfire strikes to do last minute Firewise measures such as cleaning your roof and gutters of leaves and needles. You will not have time to cut down that tree or bush, or mow grasses around your home. Steps you can take ahead of time are available at www.firewise.org, as well as at the IAFC's Ready, Set, Go! program page. You want to be ready ahead of time so you can focus on your family and pets. So,
- Be Ready! Are you Firewise?
- Be Set! Do you have a plan?
- Go Early! If you are Firewise ahead of time and have a plan in place, you won’t have to wait for the emergency call or knock at the door. Evacuate when ordered to leave so firefighters can do their jobs more effectively.
Finally, work with your neighbors and community to become a recognized Firewise Community. Go to www.firewise.org to learn how you build partnerships to reduce wildfire risks. Being Firewise is a shared responsibility and what you and your neighbors do ahead of time will be important.