IDAHO — "We know people are very distracted right now considering COVID and everything that is going on, but with wildfire season upon us we are just encouraging people to take a few simple steps now that may keep them and their families safer," said Idaho and Montana Red Cross Regional Communications Director, Matt Ochsner.
Idaho is expecting an above-average wildfire season, so it's important to get prepared now rather than later.
“Wildfires can travel very very quickly, so you don’t have as much time as you would think you do to get out of your home and neighborhood quickly,” said Ochsner.
It first starts with creating an emergency plan.
"Make a plan, and practice that plan," said Ochsner. "Know a couple of evacuation routes from your neighborhood, make sure every family member knows and have a meetup spot in case you guys get separated
in an emergency."
It's also important to have an easily accessible emergency kit full of your necessities.
At a minimum the Red Cross says that you should have:
- Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- Deluxe family first aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
It's also important to make sure you're staying up to date on the fires developing around you by checking the radio or news frequently.
The Red Cross also has a free emergency app that will alert you when there is a wildfire near you.
If you have to evacuate, the app also tells you where the nearest shelter is.
"If there is a fire near you don't wait evacuate," said Ochsner. "If they tell you you need to leave your house you need to get out of your house now. Property can always be replaced but your health and your family's health is the most important thing.”
The Red Cross said that you can protect your house now, by removing any brush, debris, or flammable material surrounding the house.
They said that it's also important to have a hose ready.
Being prepared now can keep you and your family safer during wildfire season. For more information on being fire aware, click on these links.