Wildfires have been unfortunately on the rise. Increased heat and extended periods of drought from climate change have made certain areas more susceptible to wildfires, and there’s no sign of them slowing down.
California wildfires alone took over 4 million acres in 2020, which is a peak record. That means people need to be more prepared than ever for wildfires, especially if they live in high-risk areas.
You definitely don’t want to be caught off guard when the flames start blazing and smoke clouds roll in.
Here’s what you can do:
Prepare In Advance
Besides working deliberately to prevent wildlifes, you’ll want to prepare in advance to protect yourself, your home, and your loved ones from these potential risks.
Protect Your Home
If you live in an area with a lot of brush and fallen limbs or leaves, try to clean these up as much as possible. It’s best to create a defensible space within 100 ft radius around your home where there are no trees or brush.
If you’re building your home, or remodeling, try to include ember-resistant building materials. During a fire, there’s obviously the threat of direct flames, but flying embers can also damage or destroy your home. These can fly over a mile away from a raging wildfire, so keep that in mind.
This means you may want to address different materials of your home including the roof, walls, and decks.
Have an Action Plan
Make sure that when a wildlife comes around, your family is prepared. Everyone in the house knows where to go and is ready to face the emergency. Kids usually learn the “stop, drop, and roll” protocol in schools, but you may also want to practice this with them.
You may even want to do some drills so that in case of an emergency, everyone is on the same page. Who is going to get the dog, the supplies, the safety tools. Worst case, you’ll all need to be prepared to dispatch and abandon ship together.
Prepare a Wildfire Emergency Kit
No question, you’ll need a wildfire preparedness kit at the ready. This should have all the things in a standard survival kit which includes items like: water, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable foods, tools, sanitation and personal hygiene items, copies of documents, blankets, and the list goes on.
Additional things include the specific needs of your family. If you have a baby, you would obviously want to include formula, diapers, and baby food. If you have a dog, you’ll want to include things like an extra leash and some dog food. Don’t forget about Snoopy!
For your wildlife preparedness kit, it’s absolutely necessary to include medical supplies like surgical masks or respirators. These masks are critical because as we mentioned in a previous blog, woodsmoke can be incredibly dangerous to our lungs and impact our immune system.
Health Risks of Woodsmoke
Even if your home is far from where the fire is taking place, the woodsmoke can travel and pollute the air quality around you. This particulate pollution can especially be harmful for people who have respiratory issues like asthma. It can also trigger more severe things like strokes, heart palpitations, and heart failure for those already at risk.
Wood smoke can also exacerbate respiratory problems and make people more susceptible to viruses like COVID-19.
ORA Brands Solution
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dust masks or regular surgical masks are not as effective as respirators against wood smoke.
ORA Brands Nanofiltration Masks are a great option because they filter even the tiniest particulate matter (down to 0.1 microns) and they fit snugly to your face. This means no smoke or debris can creep into the mask if there’s wood smoke in the air around you.
Keep yourself and your family safe by taking the necessary precautions, practicing drills, and having the necessary equipment in your wildfire preparedness kit. And, like Smokey the Bear says, “Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires,” so be careful out there!