It’s that time of year again, folks. If you live in California, you know that “Fire Season” is a reality in our lives. The Thomas Fire was our family’s wake-up call when we were evacuated for two weeks. We were among the lucky ones with a home that is still standing. We were able to shield our then two-year-old from most of the stress of that situation. In her memory it was a really fun time when we stayed in a hotel and she got to sleep in the big bed with mama and dada. She is much more aware these days, so we are carefully bringing her into the conversation of how to be safe during a fire.
The local fire department recently visited her classroom and she learned all about “stop, drop and roll” in case of a fire. That’s a good start and boy did it bring back some grade-school memories for me! The Thomas Fire taught us to have emergency food and water on hand and a bag packed and ready to go at all times. We have a folder with copies of all our important information and make sure to keep the car gas tank filled. It is incredibly important to be prepared! Here are 7 key things you can do to stay safe and protect your children.
- Talk about wildfires, why they occur, how to prevent them and what to do if one occurs.
- Learn your caregivers’ disaster plans. If your child’s school or childcare center is in an area at risk from wildfires, find out what the plans are in case of a wildfire.
- Practice evacuation drills. Create and practice your family evacuation plan so that, if needed, you can evacuate quickly and safely. Plan and practice at least two ways out of your neighborhood as one route may be blocked.
- Stay informed. If a wildfire is approaching, listen regularly to local radio or television stations for updated emergency information. Personally, I downloaded the CalFire App and set up alerts.
- Have supplies ready. If you must evacuate, wear protective clothing such as sturdy shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Lock your home and take your disaster supplies kit with you.
- Avoid smoke and fumes and stay indoors with windows shut if possible. Smoke produced by the wildfire may cause breathing problems or contain poisonous toxins. Invest in masks for yourself and your children. I purchased small reusable/washable cloth masks with filters for my daughter.
- Limit media exposure and protect children from seeing too many sights and images of the wildfire.
Stay safe out there!
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