A simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.
Day 6: Go! Create an Evacuation Plan
Ready, Set, Go. If you've followed days 1-5 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week step-by-step planning guide, you've now taken steps to "Ready" your home for wildfire, and are "set" to evacuate when the time is right. Today we'll look at the last step in a process that we hope you'll never face - evacuate.
Evacuations save lives and allow responding personnel to focus on the emergency at hand. Evacuate immediately when requested! Evacuate early if you are unsure, feel unsafe, or lose communications. Your life is at stake!
By leaving early, you give your family the best chance of surviving a wildfire. You also help firefighters by keeping roads clear of congestion, enabling them to move more freely and do their job.
EVACUATE EARLY AND SAFELY. FOLLOW YOUR PERSONAL WILDLAND FIRE ACTION PLAN. DOING SO WILL NOT ONLY SUPPORT YOUR SAFETY BUT WILL ALLOW FIREFIGHTERS TO BEST MANEUVER RESOURCES TO COMBAT THE FIRE.
Give your household the best chance of surviving a wildfire by being ready to go and evacuating early. This includes going through the Evacuation Checklist, as well as creating a Wildfire Action Plan before a fire strikes for your family. Being ready to go also means knowing when to evacuate and what to do if you become trapped.
TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY WHEN WILDFIRE STRIKES
Please read our Evacuation Preparedness materials and familiarize yourself with evacuation procedures TODAY. Your life may depend on it TONIGHT.
- Register for Alert Marin
- Wildfire Evacuation Guide
- Evacuation Checklist
- Evacuating Pets
- Evacuating Large Animals
Remember: When immediate evacuation is necessary, follow these steps as soon as possible to get ready to GO!
- Review your Evacuation Plan Checklist.
- Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is in your vehicle.
- Cover-up to protect against heat and flying embers. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, cap, dry bandanna for face cover, goggles or glasses. 100% cotton is preferable.
- Locate your pets, place them in crates, gather pet food and supplies, and prepare to take them with you.
- Review the IBHS Last Minute Evacuation Checklist if you have time (before evacuation is ordered or advised).
WHEN TO EVACUATE
Leave as soon immediately if you receive a notification or alert to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion. Don’t wait to be ordered by authorities to leave if you are unsure, feel threatened, or lose communications. Law enforcement will direct the evacuation, and they will keep intersections open and moving, but resources may be limited. Evacuating early helps keep roads clear of congestion, and lets fire apparatus move more freely to do their job. If you are advised to leave, don’t hesitate!
- The fire Incident Commander will determine the areas to be evacuated and escape routes to use depending upon the fire’s location, behavior, winds, terrain, etc.
- Law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcing an evacuation order. Follow their directions promptly.
- You will be advised of potential evacuations as early as possible by Alert Marin. YOU MUST REGISTER TO RECEIVE ALERTS.
- You must take the initiative to stay informed and aware. Listen to your radio (AM1610, AM840, and others) and TV for announcements from law enforcement and emergency personnel.
- You may be directed to temporary assembly areas to await transfer to a safe location.
All evacuation instructions provided by officials should be followed immediately for your safety.
What if my road is blocked?
Law enforcement can move a large number of vehicles through intersections.
- Drive clamly and safely.
- Turn your lights on.
- If an alternate route is available, take it.
- If the road is blocked, try to clear the obstruction.
- Do not leave your vehicle if fire is burning on the roadsides unless there is no other option or your car is on fire. Leaving your car is a last resort and may prove deadly. You are almost always safer in your car or a building.
- Do not abandon your car in the roadway, park it off the road if there is no ther option.
- Take shelter in a building if no quick escape route is available. Close doors and windows, stay low (lay on the floor, crawl to moveif there is smoke or heat in the building, and stay near a door. Stay inside until the fire passes or conditions become untenable.
My neighborhood is one way in, one way out!
If you live in a "one way in, one way out" neighborhood, as is common in Marin, then your escape route is predetermined.
- Use the one-way-out direction and leave! Drive towards your neighborhoods exit, and to the nearest town away from the fire.
- Follow instructions in the alert messages if they provide evacuation shelter or escape route information.
- Do not flee to fire roads or vegetated open spaces - it's more dangerous than being in your car on the pavement.
- But fire engines will block my escape!
- WRONG! During an evacuation, the fire's Incident Commander will instruct fire engines not to enter areas where evacuation is occurring and two-way passage is not possible. Evacuation is the numebr one priority for firefighters.
FIRE ROADS are NOT safe or viable evacuation routes during wildfires! Stay on pavement, in your car if possible, and evacuate downhill towards major roads and town unless instructed otherwise by emergency personnel.