Preparing to Evacuate

As wildfires continue to race through forests in too many of our Canadian provinces, there’s no better time to talk about what to do in the event of an evacuation notice. Earlier this week, we talked about some of the ways we can prevent fire danger and disaster. However, with the heat and dryness we’re experiencing in so many regions this summer, the fires in our forests are proving hard to beat.

While we all try to conserve water and our community fire fighters continue to battle the flames, some of us are left wondering what our role should be. Well, the first step — once you have an emergency kit ready to go — is to educate yourself!

Did you know that 13,000 people were forced out of their homes in Saskatchewan? Apparently, ten times the amount of hectares are burning, compared to our annual average. And it’s a similar story in too many communities in Western Canada.

One of the best things to remember is that you are only able to help others if you are safe yourself. Here are a few ways to do just that:

  1. One of the best ways to keep yourself safe, when threatened by a forest fire, is to keep your radio and/or television tuned into a station where the authorities are continually broadcasting and updating reports. It’s best to stay put unless you are otherwise notified to evacuate.
  2. If you have an emergency plan already in place then you shouldn’t have to worry about much other than following it.
  3. One of the top items in your emergency plan should be an emergency kit, as we’ve already mentioned. And for wildfires, you’d be wise to pair it with something like an Emergency Smoke Mask Kit!
  4. The second item in your emergency plan should be communication. If you have time before you evacuate, let your family or closest friends — at least one person — know that you’re leaving. And tell them where you’re going.
  5. Along with your emergency kit, make sure you have a cellphone and extra batteries with you, before you go. Keep a list of emergency contacts and other personal documents with you. And check off items on a pre-made checklist, if you’re able.
  6. If instructed, shut off water and electricity before you go. And when you do evacuate, follow the routes advised by the authorities.
  7. If you go to an evacuation centre, make sure to register yourself. And don’t return home until it’s advised as safe.

Once again, communication is key. So don’t be afraid to talk to people and get to the bottom of what is going on. If you’d like to read more about how to protect your home against a forest fire, please tune in to our blog again soon!

Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for Frontier.io

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