Protect Your Family

Ready. Set. Go.

Now that you’ve done everything you can to protect your house, its time to prepare your family. Your Wildland Fire Action Guide must be prepared with all members of your household well in advance of a fire. Use these checklists to help you gain a situational awareness of the threat and to prepare your Wildland Fire Action Guide. For more information on property and home preparedness before a fire threat, review the preparedness checklist on the Firewise Communities website,

Ready - Preparing for the Fire Threat

  • Create a Family Disaster Plan that includes meeting locations and communication plans and rehearse it regularly. Include in your plan the evacuation of large animals such as horses.

  • Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family how to use them.

  • Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric and water main shut-off controls are and how to use them.

  • Plan several different evacuation routes.Designate an emergency meeting location outside the fire hazard area.

  • Assemble an emergency supply kit as recommended by the American Red Cross.

  • Appoint an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact so you can communicate with family members who have relocated.

  • Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers posted near your phone and in your emergency supply kit.

  • Keep an extra emergency supply kit in your car in case you can’t get to your home because of fire.

  • Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire.

Set - Situational Awareness when a Fire Starts

  • Evacuate as soon as you are set!

  • Alert family and neighbors.

  • Dress in appropriate clothing (i.e., clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton, and work boots). Have goggles and a dry bandana or particle mask handy.

  • Ensure that you have your emergency supply kit on hand that includes all necessary items, such as a battery powered radio, spare batteries, emergency contact numbers, and ample drinking water.

  • Stay tuned to your TV or local radio stations for updates, or check the fire department Web site.

  • Remain close to your house, drink plenty of water and keep an eye on your family and pets until you are ready to leave.



  • Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.

  • Remove flammable window shades and curtains and close metal shutters.Remove lightweight curtains.

  • Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.

  • Shut off gas at the meter. Turn off pilot lights.Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.

  • Shut off the air conditioning.




  • Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (e.g., patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, etc.) or place them inyour pool.

  • Turn off propane tanks.Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running - they can waste critical water pressure.Leave exterior lights on.

  • Back your car into the driveway.

  • Shut doors and roll up windows.Have a ladder available.Patrol your property and extinguish all small fires until you leave.

  • Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals if time permits.



  • Shelter away from outside walls.Bring garden hoses inside house so embers don’t destroy them.

  • Patrol inside your home for spot fires andextinguish them.

  • Wear long sleeves and long pants made of natural fibers such as cotton.

  • Stay hydrated.

  • Ensure you can exit the home if it catches fire (remember if it’s hot inside the house, it is four to five times hotter outside).

  • Fill sinks and tubs for an emergency water supply.

  • Place wet towels under doors to keep smoke and embers out.

  • After the fire has passed, check your roof and extinguish any fires, sparks or embers.

  • Check inside the attic for hidden embers.Patrol your property and extinguish small fires.If there are fires that you can not extinguish with a small amount of water or in a short period of time, call 9-1-1.

Go - Leave Early

By leaving early, you give your family the best chance of surviving a wildland fire. You also help firefighters by keeping roads clear of congestion, enabling them to move more freely and do their job in a safer environment.


Leave early enough to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion. Don’t wait to be told by authorities to leave. In an intense wildland fire, they may not have time to knock on every door. If you are advised to leave, don’t hesitate!


Leave to a predetermined location (it should be a low-risk area, such as a well-prepared neighbor or relative’s house, a Red Cross shelter or evacuation center, motel, etc.)


Have several travel routes in case one route is blocked by the fire or by emergency vehicles and equipment. Choose an escape route away from the fire.


Take your emergency supply kit containing your family and pet’s necessary items.



The American Red Cross recommends every family have an emergency supply kit assembled long before a wildland fire or other emergency occurs. Use the checklist below to help assemble yours. For more information on emergency supplies, visit the American Red Cross Web site at


  • Three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day).

  • Non-perishable food for all family members and pets (three-day supply).

  • First aid kit.

  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries.

  • An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks.

  • Sanitation supplies.

  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses.

  • Important family documents and contact numbers.

  • Map marked with evacuation routes.

  • Prescriptions or special medications.

  • Family photos and other irreplaceable items.

  • Easily carried valuables.

  • Personal computers (information on hard drives and disks).

  • Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.


Note: Keep a pair of old shoes and a flashlight handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.