Fire Smart: What to do before and during a wildfire

Plan ahead to help lessen the impacts a wildfire can have on your family

A wildfire ripped through the forest 16 km south of Fort McMurray, Alta on highway 63 on May 7, 2016. (File photo from THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

What would you do if a wildfire was suddenly barreling towards your home?

It’s a situation many local residents don’t expect to find themselves in but living in a province known for its wildfire seasons, Islanders are not immune to the dangers.

With another wildfire season on the horizon, Black Press Media is reminding residents of simple actions that could go a long way in protecting you, your family and your home. The checklist below is compiled with information from local fire departments as well as from the FireSmart guide, a publication sponsored by Parks Canada, Natural Resouces Canada and the Alberta government.

Check the boxes below to help prepare your household for an emergency.

☐ Store at least a three-day supply of drinking water and food (for each member of the home, including pets) that does not require refrigeration or cooking.

☐ Store a portable radio, flashlight, emergency cooking equipment, portable lanterns and any batteries or fuels they may require.

☐ Consider purchasing a portable generator to supply power for lights, cooking and/or heating. (Be sure your device is not backfeeding powerlines, creating unsafe conditions for workers and emergency crews, during a power outage.)

☐ Establish and maintain a first aid kit that can be used to treat a variety of injuries until help arrives.

☐ Establish an escape plan so all members of your family know how to get out of the house quickly and safely.

☐ Establish a contingency plan so family members can contact each other in case they are separated during an evacuation.

☐ Make sure all family members know what to do if their clothes catch on fire (stop, drop and roll).

READ MORE: B.C. Wildfires

In the event of a fire

If you see a fire approaching your home, report it immediately by dialling 911, unless you know authorities are already aware of the fire. Take the following actions only if you have time to do so safely before the fire arrives at your home. When possible, divide the following tasks amongst family members and predetermine who will do what in the event of a wildfire so each member knows their role and there is no confusion.

☐ Close all windows and doors.

☐ Prepare your vehicle for a quick getaway. Park your vehicle unlocked, with the keys in the ignition and positioned forward out of the driveway. Keep car windows closed and have what you need to take in your vehicle.

☐ Turn off propane or natural gas.

☐ Turn on all lights in the house, porch, garage and yard.

☐ Place a ladder to the roof against the front of the house.

☐ Inside the house, move combustible material such as curtains and furniture away from the windows.

☐ Put lawn sprinklers on the roof and turn on the water.

☐ Move all combustibles away from the house including firewood, lawn furniture, etc.

☐ Evacuate your family and pets to a safe location.

☐ Watch goldstreamgazette.com and social media channels for up-to-date information on the fire and possible road closures. Do not call 911 to find out road conditions.


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