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Posted on: July 1, 2019

Wildfire Safety: Take Steps to Protect Your Home

Do your part to help keep our community and environment safe from wildfires, especially as we experience warm weather.

Take simple steps to protect your home and to prepare for possible fire threats:

  • Observe the current burning moratorium, which is in effect until at least Sept. 30. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is a main cause of wildfires.
  • Outdoor cooking or recreational burning (campfires) require a no-fee burn permit, available from Eastside Fire & Rescue.
  • If you're camping, check local restrictions on campfires. Only use an approved gas stove as an alternative for heating and cooking. If charcoal grills are permitted, use them only over fireproof surfaces, such as asphalt or bare mineral soil.
  • Dispose of smoking materials properly. Extinguish them in an ashtray. Don't throw them out your window.
  • Avoid parking and idling in dry grass. Catalytic converters can get hot enough to ignite the grass.
  • Avoid setting hot chainsaws or other gas-powered equipment in dry grass, which could ignite after coming into contact with hot mufflers.
  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Remove dead vegetation surrounding your home, within the 30- to 100-foot area.
  • Don't let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • When planting, choose slow-growing, carefully-placed shrubs and trees so the area can be more easily maintained.
To learn more about how to protect your home and community from wildfires, watch our informational video, and visit firewise.org. Now is also a good time to create a family evacuation plan and prepare a grab-and-go box for emergencies. Your grab-and-go box should include important documents — such as birth certificates, passports, deeds, etc. — copes of important prescriptions and immunization records, emergency phone numbers and cash. Creating a grab-and-go box requires only a few simple steps:

  • Place papers in sealed, waterproof plastic bags.
  • Store in a durable, sealed box. (A portable, fire- and waterproof box or waterproof backpack is recommended.)
  • Keep your box or backpack at home in a secure, easily-accessible location.
If you and your family must evacuate due to a wildfire or other emergency:
  • Grab your box or backpack and take it with you.
  • Keep your box or backpack with you at all times.
  • Do not leave your box or backpack unattended in your vehicle.
When creating your evacuation plan, remember the five P’s:

1. People
Do you and others in your home:
  • Have an escape plan leading out of the community?
  • Have an escape plan that doesn’t depend on the use of a vehicle?
  • Practice the escape plan to make sure it works?
2. Prescriptions Do you and others in your home:
  • Have a week’s supply of medicines to get you by until the threat passes?
  • Have medicines in a grab-and-go bag?
3. Papers Do you and others in your home:
  • Have copies of essential documents (birth certificates, insurance, etc.)?
  • Have essential documents in a grab-and-go bag?
4. Personal Needs Do you and others in your home:
  • Have personal items assembled in one place for quick access?
5. Priceless Things Do you and others in your home:
  • Have items that can’t be replaced and need to be preserved?
  • Have a plan on how to remove or protect your priceless things?
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