- Dry conditions greatly increase the potential for wildfires.
- Wildfires can move quickly and change direction without warning.
- If you see a wildfire, be sure to call 911 immediately and evacuate your residence as quickly as possible.
- Know where to go and how to get there if you are ordered to evacuate.
If you have time, follow these tips to protect your home:
- Remove combustibles from your home and place them outside
- Close all of your doors, windows and blinds
- Shut off the gas in your home; however, remember only a professional can turn the gas back on
- Fill large containers, bathtubs, etc. with water
- Make sure your car is packed and full of fuel. Secure valuables that you cannot live without (important documents) inside your car for quick evacuation
- When preparing to leave your home, leave all of your lights on so your home is visible in smoke and leave your doors unlocked to allow firefighters access
- This is dangerous and should only be done in an emergency, but you can survive the firestorm if you stay in your car. It is much less dangerous than trying to run from a fire on foot.
- Roll up windows and close air vents. Drive slowly with your headlights on. Watch for other vehicles and pedestrians. Do not drive through heavy smoke.
- If you have to stop, park away from the heaviest trees and brush. Turn headlights on and ignition off. Roll up windows and close air vents.
- Get on the floor and cover up with a blanket or coat.
- Stay in the vehicle until the main fire passes.
- Stay in the car. Do not run! Your engine may stall and not restart. Air currents may rock the car. Some smoke and sparks may enter your vehicle. Temperature inside will increase. Metal gas tanks and containers rarely explode.
Trapped at Home:
- Stay calm. As the fire front approaches, go inside the house. You can survive inside. The fire will pass before your house burns down.
Caught in the Open:
- The best temporary shelter is in a sparse fuel area. On a steep mountainside, the backside is safer. Avoid canyons, natural “chimneys” and saddles.
- If a road is nearby, lie face down along the road cut or in the ditch on the uphill side. Cover yourself with anything that will shield you from the fire’s heat.
- If hiking in the backcountry, seek a depression with sparse fuel. Clear fuel away from the area while the fire is approaching and then lie face down in the depression and cover yourself. Stay down until the fire passes!
After a wildfire, it is vital to continue to check your home for several hours for burning embers, sparks, or hidden fires. The roof or the attic is the best place to check first. Be sure to put out any of these small burning embers or sparks. If your home is on fire, dial 911.
- Wear protective clothing, including grip gloves, a hard hat, safety goggles, hearing protection, non-slip steel-toe shoes and trim-fitted clothing that won’t get caught in the chain.
- Follow instructions in the owner’s manual for starting and operating the saw.
- Stand to the side of the saw so you won’t follow the cut through into your leg.
- Hold the saw parallel to the ground, holding your left arm straight for better control and to reduce the chance of kickback.
- Keep both hands on the saw while it is running.
- Avoid cutting above mid-chest height.
- Never try to cut a tree with a diameter greater than the length of the chainsaw blade.
- Be extremely careful when cutting limbs or stems of trees that are bent or under tension; the branch can spring back into the operator.
- Carry the saw below the waist with the engine off and bar pointed to the rear.
- Do not work alone. Have a companion nearby and keep bystanders and helpers at a safe distance.
Communication & Recovery
- Follow the City of Orlando on Twitter @citybeautiful and Facebook for immediate updates and resources.
- Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
- Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
For more information about how to prepare for wildfires, visit America’s PrepareAthon site.