Wildfire season can be an incredibly traumatic time. With wildfires in the Okanagan now leading to evacuation orders and alerts in some areas, it's important to get familiar with the steps to take in the event your community is at risk. Establish a response plan with your family in the event that a wildfire threatens your home. If you have questions about your insurance coverage or would like more information, contact your CapriCMW Risk Advisor. We also recently posted an article on our blog about important coverages you should have under your home insurance policy pertaining to fire and smoke damage.
If you are in an active wildfire zone:
- Monitor local radio and television stations closely for forecasts and emergency instructions.
- Have your 72-hour emergency kit on hand and be prepared to evacuate at any time.
- Keep windows and doors closed. Remove drapes, curtains, awnings, window coverings, and anything else that could catch fire.
- If water supplies are available and sufficient, use a sprinkler to wet your roof.
- Follow the directions of local authorities, and follow evacuation orders if given. Do not deviate from the evacuation plan.
- Ensure emergency vehicles have access to your home by keeping fire lanes clear and driveways accessible.
- If you have access to a cell phone, call your family members to tell them your whereabouts. Leave your cell phone turned on so that people can reach you.
What to Include in Your 72-Hour Emergency Kit
The Canadian Red Cross recommends the following:
- A sturdy and easy-to-carry bag, like a backpack.
- Two litres of drinking water and two litres of water for washing per person, per day. Don’t forget about your pets!
- At least a 72-hour supply of non-perishable food for each person. Include food for your pets as necessary.
- Manual can opener.
- Crank or battery-operated flashlight, with extra batteries.
- Crank or battery-operated radio, with extra batteries.
- Extra keys, for house and car.
- First aid kit.
- Cash in small bills.
- Special needs items (e.g., medications, infant formula, etc.).
- Personal hygiene items.
- Important family documents (e.g., copies of birth and marriage certificates, passports, licences, wills, and insurance policies).
- Copy of your emergency plan.
Place all of these items in a waterproof container and store in a convenient place so it is easily accessible should disaster strike. Check your kit every 6 months to ensure that it meets your changing needs, that your water and food supply are fresh and batteries are in working order. Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing medications.
To stay current on the location of active wildfires, check the BC's Wildfire Services' Interactive Wildfire Map. The Government of BC website also provide information on currency wildfire activity and numerous resources for prevention and preparedness.