Wildfires

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Wildfires threaten lives and destroy homes and natural resources. You can take action now to help save lives and help prevent or reduce damage caused by wildfires.

  1. What to Do Before a Wildfire
  2. When A Wildfire Threatens
  3. After the Wildfire

Make a Family Plan

Talk to all family members, including the little ones. You and your family might not be together during a disaster. Collect contact information of everyone in the family and make sure everyone knows where and how to reconnect after wildfire evacuation. Visit the Ready.gov pages to learn how to make a plan.

Family members should have an out-of-area contact they can call to let them know they are safe when they are separated. Prepare wallet cards with the contact’s information.

If you have special physical or medical needs, be sure to have an extra supply of medication and supplies to take with you if you evacuate. People with heart and lung diseases must be especially careful around wood smoke. Discuss your emergency plans with your medical provider.

Develop an Evacuation Plan

If you need to evacuate your house, determine a process for evacuating quickly. Practice the plan at least two times each year. Things to consider when developing your evacuation plan:

  • What are the items from your house you would need to collect during a wildfire pre-evacuation or evacuation?
  • Store copies of your vital records and lists, photos or videos of valuable items in a safety deposit box. Include updated insurance policies.
  • What is your emergency plan for your pets and livestock?
  • Designate a “safety zone.” What are the different routes out of the neighborhood to get to the “safety zone?” what if the planned evacuation routes are blocked by fire?
  • Make sure everyone knows where everything is located and who would be responsible for getting what. Then — practice!

Sign up for Emergency Notifications

  • In Jefferson County, CodeRED emergency notifications allows the Sheriff's Office to warn citizens of danger. With CodeRED, the Sheriff's Office can call, text or email multiple individuals and businesses to warn of dangerous suspects, flood, fire, or chemical spills. Sign up for CodeRED.
  • Smart911 is a free service with which users create a safety profile by entering vital data they want made available about themselves, their family, their residence and even their pets. Data given can include photos, and information regarding medical conditions, allergies, disabilities and/or special needs, home addresses of cell phone callers and floor plans to name a few. Smart911 delivers this information automatically to dispatchers, who then enable responders to be more successful with access to critical health and logistical information before arriving at the scene of an emergency.

Know your Neighbors

Your neighbors can be your best support system. Talk to your neighbors about wildfire mitigation and how you can help neighbors who may need assistance, such as the elderly, people with infants or those with special health care needs. Talk with them about how you can work together — who might need help evacuating? Does anyone have health issues to consider?

Evaluate your House

Begin your evaluation at your driveway and clearly mark all driveways with names/addresses. Find out if your roof is hail and high-wind resistant. Are windows and doors built to withstand the weather and debris? And, just like we make sure our pipes can withstand cold Colorado winters, make sure your drains can withstand rainy springs and summers. Check your drains every spring to make sure they aren’t blocked and are flowing away from the home. Remove firewood, shrubs and other combustibles away from the home. Call your local fire, forestry, or natural resources office, or go to www.firewise.org for more ideas on home design and landscaping. Know how to shut off utilities, including water and electrical. Develop a pictograph card, laminate and post it near the shut of valves. Consider installing exterior sprinkler systems to protect your home during a wildfire.

Make Emergency Go-bags

Put together a 72-hour emergency “go-bag” supply kit. Include water, food and protective clothing, including sturdy shoes, cotton or wool clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, gloves, a handkerchief, medications, phone charger and travel toiletries. Store in easy-to-carry packs. Have children help put together go-bags (these may include some toys or a stuffed animal). Other suggestions on what to include in your kit can be found at https://www.ready.gov/colorado. Be sure to include copies of personal documents and contact lists, necessary medications and extra cash. We know it can get expensive, so focus on the necessities first.

Trim your Trees

Before a wildfire, make sure trees are trimmed to prevent branches from breaking and causing damage. Clean up pine needles, fallen branches and old leaves from the ground.