Safety tips to keep your family safe during wildfire season

Fire flames
Posted at 4:03 PM, Jul 02, 2024

IDAHO — The Red Cross of Idaho is sharing tips to keep families safe during wildfire season in the region.

“Wildfires spread very quickly, leaving you little time to get to safety,” said Scott O’Connell, regional disaster program officer for the Red Cross of Idaho, Montana and East Oregon. “Make sure you have an evacuation plan and practice it with every member of your household. Taking a few simple steps now can make all the difference later.”

Overall Wildfire Safety Tips:

  • Keep the areas surrounding your home clear of brush and materials that may catch fire.
  • Assemble an emergency kit to take with you when you evacuate. Items to include:
    • First-aid kit
    • Flashlight
    • Cellphone with chargers
    • Medications
    • Family contact information
    • Nonperishable food and water
  • Back your car into the garage or park it outside, facing the direction of your evacuation route.
  • Confine pets to one room so you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Limit exposure to smoke and dust. Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.

If you're trapped outdoors, crouch in a pond, river, or pool. Avoid putting wet clothing or bandanas over your mouth or nose as the moist air can cause damage to your airways at extreme temperatures.
If there's no body of water nearby, look for shelter in a cleared area or among a bed of rocks and lie face down, covering your body with soil and breathing close to the ground to avoid scorching your lungs.

And after a fire close to your house, make sure to:

  • Inspect the roof immediately and extinguish any sparks and embers. Wildfires may have left embers that could reignite.
  • Check your home for embers that could cause fires. Look for signs of a fire, including smoke or sparks.
  • Avoid damaged or downed power lines, poles and wires.
  • Keep your animals under your direct control. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn them.
  • Wet down debris to minimize breathing in dust particles.
  • Wear leather gloves and shoes with heavy soles.
  • Throw out any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.

Make sure to follow all local guidelines from emergency officials. You can learn more about wildfire safety at