9 Products To Have at Home in Case of a Wildfire
You can keep your family safe if wildfires come your way by having these essential items on hand. Plan now so you can act quickly later.
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Headlamp and Extra Batteries
A battery-operated headlamp or a rugged, reliable flashlight are essential if your area is prone to wildfires, according to Jannine Wilmoth, emergency manager of Anaheim Fire & Rescue. If you lose power, need to see outside at night or evacuate, this light will be invaluable.
Always keep at least two sets of replacement batteries where you can easily find them. The Energizer LED headlamp, shown here, is a powerful choice with its seven light modes and long-lasting run time. It’s made to withstand rough conditions and features a waterproof lens.
Michele Steinberg of the National Fire Protection Association warns wildfires can expand and spread quickly, so you might only have minutes to evacuate your home. Therefore, Steinberg recommends keeping a go kit or go bag ready at all times, loaded with things you’ll need if you must flee in a hurry.
Essential items include bottles of water, non-perishable food (for any pets, too), a charger for electronics, a small battery-powered radio, extra clothes, an extra set of keys, some cash and a blanket. Josh Miller of Rainbow International emphasizes it’s important to store your go bag where you can grab it quickly.
Opt for a heavy-duty bag, such as the Escape Duffle from Nixon, or an inexpensive option, like this Samsonite duffle bag. You can purchase pre-packed disaster preparedness bags, too.
Extra-Long Garden Hoses
Have at least two extra-long garden hoses on your property and test them occasionally to make sure they don’t leak. Garden hoses are invaluable when small fires break out.
While you shouldn’t try to fight a wildfire yourself, and evacuate as soon as local officials recommend it, hoses can stop small fires from spreading. The 50-foot-long Dramm 17005 ColorStorm Rubber Garden Hose is a durable, versatile choice.
Although your cell phone may seem like the best device for making emergency calls, a simple, straightforward whistle can help you urgently and quickly signal for help. Wilmoth recommends buying one in case of a fire.
The extremely loud HyperWhistle commands attention even in chaotic environments. It works in all weather conditions and can be heard two miles away. It’s even usable under water.
Fire Escape Ladder
If you don’t own a fire escape ladder long enough to accommodate the tallest point of your home, get one. The First Alert Two-Story Fire Escape Ladder is easy to use and straightforward in its construction, so it won’t be difficult to handle even under duress.
It’s a good idea to place one on every level and in every bedroom. Make sure everyone in your home knows where to find them and how to use them, too.
Emergency Water Supply
The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes recommends stocking at least one gallon of water for each person in your household for three to seven days. That gives each person a seven-gallon emergency water supply.
Blue Can Emergency Water comes in rust-proof aluminum cans with a 50-year shelf life — worth the investment if it brings you long-term peace of mind.
Notebook with Essential Information
It’s important to maintain an emergency notebook with essential information, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Certainly save this information to a file on the cloud as well. But create a hard copy, too, in case you lose internet or cell phone connectivity during a wildfire or other emergency.
Start by adding all emergency contact numbers for each member of your household. Then list medical history and conditions, including prescriptions, data about any prescription glasses, and any other essential information.
Include the names, numbers, emails and physical addresses of close friends and family members, locally and out of state, and neighbors you may need to contact to check on your home or pets if you need to evacuate. Add copies of your birth certificate, Social Security card, ID and passport, too. (Keep originals in a fireproof bag along with other important documents.) Stash this notebook in your “go bag.”
While any old notebook will certainly do, Erin Condren notebooks offer customizable options, with snap-in accessories such as a folder for important documents.
Compact First Aid Kit
Wilmoth also recommends stocking compact first aid kits in your home and car in the event of a fire. The kits should include antibiotic ointment, bandages, aspirin, hand sanitizer packs and plastic gloves.
The American Red Cross Deluxe First Aid Kit includes lots of items you would need in an emergency. Also, make sure you have at least a week’s supply of medications, extra glasses or contacts, and any other items you and your family members require for daily health care.
When you need your smartphone or other electronic devices to communicate with worried loved ones, or for the latest news on the wildfires, a dead battery is a real problem.
If you live in a wildfire-prone area, Anaheim Fire & Rescue recommends keeping cell phone cords and power banks on hand. Function 101’s Bentostack Charge 8000 is a good choice, with its power bank and wireless charging cover designed for mobile use. It allows you to charge three devices at once.