Being Pro-Active in a Wildfire
As October is National Fire Safety Month, it seems to be a fitting time to talk about the wildfires that recently came through Oregon and the Pacific Northwest and the importance of being pro-active in the event of a wildfire. Wildfires can cause horrendous damage and leave those in its path feeling vulnerable, scared and unsure what to do. When you have only hours or minutes to decide what’s most important in your home, it’s easy to freeze and shut down. Though wildfires are not common in Oregon, it’s always good to have a plan should it happen again. Your friends at PuroClean of Clackamas have some tips for you:
Pre-Planning in hopes it doesn’t happen
Be pro-active in the event of a wildfire. If there is only hours or minutes to evacuate, sometimes all that can be grabbed is your loved ones, a handful of mementos, your keys and getting out the door. Here are some ideas to help make it less stressful.
- Have a backpack or bag pre-packed for each person in the household, including inside pets. These bags will want to include some water, phone chargers, snacks, clothes for a few days, minimal toiletries.
- For pets, their bags should include bowls, food and water, maybe a toy or two.
- Have important documents together for an easy grab. Whether in a waterproof bag in a safe, or in files in a cabinet, keeping them as much together as possible makes it easier to not have a panicked search.
- Make sure a designated vehicle, or vehicles, are talked about ahead of time. Arguments can wait for another time.
- Have a plan on where to go if something like this should occur. Maybe to a friend or family member’s home. And have a back up to the plan in case they are in a bad area too.
- Take a picture or video of all rooms, closets, inside drawers, inside boxes. If there is a loss to the home, it’s much easier for you and the insurance provider when it comes to contents.
- Talk to your insurance provider to ensure that your Homeowners or renters policy have adequate coverage. Make sure it will help with displacement if you have to evacuate your home.
If evacuation in mandatory
Being prepared can help ease the fear of what could happen and let you focus on other items that need to be addressed, such as the evacuation.
- Consider following the county or state websites that keep up to date information on the areas being affected. Just because the wildfire doesn’t look or sound close, the ever-shifting winds can spread fire much quicker than most realize.
- If you are in a Level 2 evacuation, think about leaving. Once the Level 3 comes, most people leave at that same time which crowds up roads, leaving those stopped in the road vulnerable for the fire catching up.
- If you do leave your home, make sure your vehicle is not dragging anything metal that will cause sparks. The last thing needed at a moment like this is the danger that poses to you and all of those around you.
The aftermath of a wildfire will vary. Some will lose their homes completely, some might lose buildings on their property, but house was spared, etc. The hope is that you will be able to go home and all is well. If you find your house is still standing, other than the smell of some smoke, and is okay to be in, then what?
- It could be as simple as airing out your home and having an air purifier going to help the smell.
- If you are concerned about whether the smoke damage is bad, call a restoration professional for their opinion. There are many tests they can do to see if it’s more than a simple cleaning that you can do. A reputable company will explain the process, especially if there isn’t any work needed to be done.
- If significant work is found to be needed, the restoration professional will talk you through the process and answer your questions.
- Call your insurance company and talk about the next steps if a claim needs to be filed.
Wildfires are scary, but being pro-active incase of a wildfire can really decrease the stress associated with it. Should this happen, the hope is everything turns out in your favor, but as it’s not always the case, it’s good to have a plan. If there is ever a need for professional advice, here at PuroClean of Clackamas, are here working for you, 24/7.
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