The summer heat marks the height of wildfire season in California, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimates that over 30,000 acres of land have already been lost to fire this year. Preparing for any emergency is never easy. But when it comes to California fire season, being prepared is a huge step towards protecting your family, home and belongings should the need arise. Here are some tips you can use in order to stay ahead this wildfire season.
What to Take in an Evacuation
The first step in wildfire preparedness is to have all of the items you need properly protected and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Having a fireproof document safe is crucial for storing important, hard-to-replace items such as:
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- Insurance documents
- Medical documents
- Last wills and testaments
- Property deeds
- Tax returns and other financial documents
Losing these documents is a hassle and can lead to issues down the road when returning to life after a wildfire, so investing in a solid portable fireproof safe is highly recommended.
Other items to keep secure in your home for wildfire preparedness include a large water container to keep hydrated with, an air purifier to assist in filtering out smoke that may enter from outside, respiratory masks, family heirlooms and pictures, and two separate emergency kits.
When in doubt regarding what to take in an evacuation, place the biggest importance on protecting the lives of yourself and your family. Then, consider irreplaceable items. Once you have those bases covered, then you can think about nonessentials. Ultimately, though, you want to make sure you and your loved ones evacuate alive and in one piece.
Keep Emergency Kits Stocked
We recommend having two emergency kits stocked and ready to go, as it is very beneficial when it comes to wildfire safety. Each household should have an emergency kit for home use and a separate, more portable kit to take with you if you are forced to evacuate. The American Red Cross recommends that you should have 2 weeks of necessary supplies in your home kit, including:
- Non-perishable food items like granola bars, soups, and more
- Drinking water
- 1-month supply of necessary medications in a child-proof container
- First-aid kit
- Flashlights and glow sticks
- Battery-powered AM/FM radio for government updates on the fire and evacuation process
Food, water and medication should be gathered in advance, as many stores and pharmacies may be closed or have their stock completely depleted when a wildfire comes through.
The portable emergency kit used when evacuation is necessary should have 3 days’ worth of supplies that you can easily carry, according to the Red Cross. This kit should include many of the same items from the home kit, such as your important documents, food items, drinking water, necessary medications, a first-aid kit, flashlights and a radio; however, you should also try to include portable necessities such as:
- A sleeping bag or other bedding items
- Bug repellent
- Extra batteries
- Spare phone charger or charging block
- Multi-purpose tool
- Emergency fire blanket
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
How to Protect Your Belongings in California Fire Season
Now that you know what items would be helpful to store in case of a wildfire emergency, the next step is to learn how to keep them safe. When dealing with your important life documents, having multiple copies is a good way to ensure you have them when you need them. Scan these documents to create a digital copy on your computer or online data cloud service. By doing so, you can access them from anywhere, and you can always print off a copy if you are in a pinch. Make copies of important documents and store them in your fireproof safe while keeping the originals off-site at a secure storage unit.
Emergency kits need to be kept in a safe part of your home where they are protected from the elements or intrusive pests. Finding out that your emergency kit has been damaged when you need it can spell disaster, so storing it in a dry, climate-controlled part of your home that is easily accessible and safe from outside forces is a must.
What to Bring in an Evacuation
If evacuating your home becomes a necessity, every second counts. Prepare your important items so you can quickly pack up and leave the area, and knowing exactly what to grab can make that process easier.
In addition to the portable emergency kit outlined earlier, you should try to have copies of your important personal documents, respiratory masks to protect your lungs from smoke inhalation, and either a physical map of the area or a GPS that has offline capabilities. Cell towers often go down when a wildfire hits, rendering mobile phone GPS applications useless. Your biggest priority is to get somewhere safe, so having a GPS with downloaded maps for offline use or a detailed paper map will help you navigate to where you need to go.
Keep Your Items Safe with a Storage Unit in California
Sometimes the best option for keeping your belongings safe is to store them outside of the home, and utilizing a self storage unit can provide you with valuable extra space in a secure environment. Store your important personal documents in a storage unit, as it will keep them safe from the elements and intrusive pests while still providing convenient access.
Self storage units can also be a good place for safely storing family keepsakes and precious pictures that could be lost in a house fire. If you need some extra closet room to store your emergency kits, utilizing a storage unit to hold seasonal items can create the necessary space.
At Saf Keep Storage, our goal is to provide you with the California storage space you need for all of life’s situations. With facilities across California, free carry-in services, and packing and moving supplies available for purchase, our friendly staff of storage professionals are ready to help you when you need it most. Find your nearest Saf Keep Storage location and reserve your unit online today!