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Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 5: Now that You’re Ready, Get Set!


Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 3-9, 2015.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, Fire Safe Marin will provide a simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family’s wildfire preparedness with simple, easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 5: Now that You’re Ready, Get Set!

Ready, Set, Go.  If you’ve followed days 1-4 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week step-by-step planning guide, you’ve now taken steps to “Ready” your home for wildfire.  By creating Defensible Space, and taking steps to harden your home and maintain fire resistant landscaping, firefighters have a fighting-chance to save your home when wildfire strikes.  Today we’ll look at the first stage of preparation to evacuate.

Many Marin residents remember the 1991 “Tunnel Fire” in the Oakland/Berkeley hills like it was yesterday.  In the Mill valley hills, many watched this devastating fire, the most destructive wildfire in US history, from their living room windows.  25 people perished in the fire, most of whom were residents who died in their homes or cars attempting, too late, to evacuate.

Four years later, the 12,000 acre ‘Vision Fire” struck even closer to home in west Marin, burning 45 homes.  No lives were lost, in part due to lessons learned in Oakland.

Get Set As the Fire Approaches!

You must prepare quickly as a fire approaches.Set = Situational Awareness

Keep an emergency kit in your car BEFORE a fire starts.  Know how to receive and stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire from local media, your local fire department and public safety.

You may have three minutes notice, or three days, before a fire becomes a threat, depending on your location, weather conditions, and the time of year.  

How do I get “set” ?

As a wildfire approaches, it is important that you get set.  Prepare yourself and your home for the possibility of having to evacuate.  This means going through a checklist of items you will need to take when evacuating and preparing to implement your Family Disaster Plan.

Elevate your family’s situational awareness when extreme fire weather occurs, or when wildland fires are burning nearby.   Monitor the environment and be ready to implement your Family Disaster Plan.

Depending on your location, the time of year, and local fire weather conditions, you may have from a few minutes to a few days of warning before a fire threatens your safety.

Always err on the side of safety when considering evacuation.  Your home and belongings are insured.  Your life, your family’s, and the safety of your neighbors and firefighters should not be risked because you waited too long.

Outside Checklist

These steps should be taken well in advance of the fire when possible:

  • Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (e.g., patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, etc.) or place them in your pool.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running – they can waste critical water pressure best reserved for firefighters.
  • Leave exterior lights on.
  • Back your car into the driveway. Shut doors and roll up windows.
  • Have a ladder available.  Leave it where firefighters can find it easily.
  • Patrol your property and extinguish all small fires until you leave.
  • Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals if time permits.

Inside Checklist

  • Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
  • Remove flammable window shades and curtains and close metal shutters.
  • Remove lightweight curtains, close blinds and shutters.
  • 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.

Learn more at, and watch tomorrow for Day 6 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week series.  Download a pdfReady, Set, Go “Action Guide” for more information and checklists.

Did you read our earlier articles?

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 4: Choose Firewise Plants

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 3: Expand Your Defensible Space

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 1: Clean Your Roof and Gutters!

Wildfire Preparedness: A Community Responsibility