How to Prepare Yourself During a Wildfire in Los Angeles
Learn what to do to better handle a Los Angeles wildfire before, during, and after it occurs.
The recent explosion of wildfires in and around Greater Los Angeles, Southern California, and beyond is an ever-present reminder that we are all at the mercy of Mother Nature. The surrounding threat of people’s lives are requiring many communities to find new shelter. Recently, parts of Malibu, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Oak Park, Agoura Hills, Hidden Hills, Simi Valley, West Hills, Bell Canyon, and nearby neighborhoods, have gone under mandatory evacuations.
The news coverage highlights harrowing details of families having to grab what they can during a wildfire evacuation, not knowing what will become of their homes. Fires can start fast, spread rapidly, and move unpredictably. The Santa Ana winds can fuel fires with alarming wind speeds gusting up to 80 mph. The best way to defend you, your family, and your home is to be prepared.
The following serves as an overview of things you can do, before, during, and after a fire. For more information, please visit: Ready For Wildfire.
Before a fire — Things you can do to your home include:
- Create a defensible space of 100 feet around your home (clear dead brush, grass, and weeds)
- Utilize fire-resistant landscaping (use specific plants, materials, and design)
- Harden your home (use fire-resistant materials, especially on your roof and windows)
- Have up-to-date and adequate insurance (talk to your rep frequently about your policies)
- Document your home and belongings by video or photograph in the event of a loss
Before evacuation — Things you can do for you and your family include:
- Create a wildfire action plan, designate an escape route, meeting place, and communications
- Create and keep an emergency care kit in your home and car
- Have up-to-date, approved fire extinguishers on hand and train all family members to use them
- Have a portable radio or scanner, with fresh batteries, to stay informed
- Be power-outage ready with flashlights, lights, food, and water
- Talk to your neighbors to make sure everyone is on the same page with pre-fire preparations
- Have special evacuation plans for elderly, small children, disabled persons, pets, and livestock
- Time permitting, have a plan to gather photos and other small keepsakes that fit in your car
During a fire — Things you can do as you ready to escape include:
- Evacuate when it is recommended or voluntary, not when it becomes mandatory
- Turn off the gas and pilot lights
- Shut windows, close vents, remove drapes, and move furniture to the center of rooms
- Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your home at night
- Remove flammable items from the exterior of your home (or put them inside)
- Connect garden hoses and set out ladders for firefighters
- Fill buckets of water (but do not turn on hoses or sprinklers as this can disrupt water pressure)
- Seal attic and other vents
- Move BBQ and propane tanks away from structures
- Check on neighbors
- Do not forgot pets or livestock
After a fire — Things you can do once you are permitted to return include:
- Check for downed power lines and other similar hazards
- Double check for hidden embers or smoldering areas of fire on your house and property
- Check-in with neighbors
- Be extra cautious with propane tanks, regulators, and lines before turning gas back on
- Return you house to “normal” and makes sure you re-stock and re-prepare for the next fire
- Enlist a fire injury lawyer if you suspect unnatural causes or need to fight your insurance
Fires are unpredictable and do not discriminate when, where, or who they impact. With the fire being out of our immediate control, the one thing we can do is to be better prepared for when a fire does strike. Be ready, be prepared, and be safe.
The Dominguez Firm has experienced fire injury lawyers to assist and get you the compensation you deserve if the unthinkable has occurred. If there is no recovery, there is no fee! Call now for a free consultation at 800-818-1818.
Additional Resources that may be useful: