- Install smoke detectors on every level - Check them monthly.
- Keep bedroom doors closed when sleeping – It takes 10 to 15 minutes for a flame to burn through a door, giving you more time to escape.
- Teach all household members to stop, drop and roll if they catch on fire.
- Establish a family meeting place, a safe distance from your home in case of a fire.
- Dispose of fireplace ashes in a metal container.
- Ensure all room exits are always unobstructed.
- Store matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Use barbecue grills away from buildings.
- Yell to other members of the household to alert them of the fire as you evacuate your home.
- Go directly to your safe family meeting place; never re-enter a burning building.
- If the room is filled with smoke, drop to your hands and knees and crawl the nearest exit or window. The air is clearest near the floor.
- Before opening doors, touch them to see if they are hot. If they are hot, do not open the door and find an alternative exit.
- If trapped in a room with fire blocking all exits, close all doors and wait for firefighters to rescue you. Stuff cracks and vents to keep smoke out.
- If possible, call 9-1-1, even if the fire department is on scene, to give your exact location within the house.
- Wait at the window and signal with a sheet or flashlight.
- Do not re-enter your home until you are told it is safe to do so.
- Check yourself and family members for any injuries.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Know your community’s evacuation routes and find several ways to leave the area.
- Have a plan for pets and livestock. Remember that some shelters do not accept pets.
- Set aside supplies in case you must evacuate to your safe location. After a wildfire, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment. Being prepared allows you to address smaller medical issues at home, alleviating the burden on urgent care centers and hospitals.
- Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air. Close all doors and windows. Set up a portable air cleaner to keep indoor pollution levels low when smoky conditions exist.
- Keep important documents in a fireproof, safe place. Create password-protected digital copies.
- Use fire-resistant materials to build, renovate, or make repairs.
- Find an outdoor water source with a hose that can reach any area of your property.
- Create a fire-resistant zone that is free of leaves, debris, or flammable materials for at least 30 feet from your home.
- Review insurance coverage to make sure it is enough to replace your property.
- Pay attention to air quality alerts.
- Evacuate immediately if authorities tell you to do so.
- If trapped, then call 911 and give your location, but be aware that emergency response could be delayed or impossible. Turn on lights to help rescuers find you.
- Pay attention to any health symptoms if you have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant. If you are sick and need medical attention, contact your healthcare provider for further care instructions and shelter in place, if possible.
- Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
- If you already have an N95 mask, use this to protect yourself from smoke inhalation.
- If you are not ordered to evacuate but smoky conditions exist, stay inside in a safe location or go to a community building where smoke levels are lower.
- Listen to authorities to find out when it is safe to return, and whether water is safe to drink.
- Avoid hot ash, charred trees, smoldering debris, and live embers. The ground may contain heat pockets that can burn you or spark another fire. Consider the danger to pets and livestock. When cleaning, wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, appropriate cloth face coverings or masks, and sturdy thick-soled shoes during clean-up efforts. These will protect you from further injury from broken glass, exposed nails, and other objects.
- People with asthma and/or other lung conditions should take precautions in areas with poor air quality, as it can worsen symptoms. Children should not help with clean-up efforts.
- Pay attention to any health symptoms if you or your children have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant. Get to medical help if you need it.
- Send text messages or use social media to reach out to family and friends. Phone systems are often busy following a disaster. Make calls only in emergencies.
- Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
- Document property damage with photographs. Conduct an inventory and contact your insurance company for assistance.
- Wildfires dramatically change landscape and ground conditions, which can lead to increased risk of flooding due to heavy rains, flash flooding and mudflows. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored—up to 5 years after a wildfire. Consider purchasing flood insurance to protect the life you've built and to assure financial protection from future flooding.
More Information/Additional Resources:
Michigan DNR - Wildfire Protection and Information
Michigan DNR - Fire Safety Tips