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Drought Conditions and Fire Safety — Weekend Homework

The weekend is here! Hoping you have great plans in the works, and want to share with you a little bit of “Preponomics Homework” to inspire your thoughts, and encourage the ongoing development of your preparedness plans. For our Weekend Homework, let’s consider the importance of fire safety in the face of drought conditions. First the background, and the question follows…

Drought Conditions and Fire Safety

drought conditions
By US Forest Service – https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/photograph/5503/39/68765/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62239939

Background:  Drought conditions increase the risk of fire hazards, and often place people, pets, farm and ranch animals, wildlife, and property in danger well beyond what many people understand as their relative levels of risk. Fire can move swiftly, and change directions. A blaze can quickly encircle an area preventing the escape from those trapped within it. Understanding the risks of fire, taking steps to prevent fire, and having a solid and practiced evacuation plan in place and in case of emergency are all key to improving the odds of surviving such a disaster.



Here are a few suggestions to help develop thoughts, ideas, and emergency planning related to fire risk and fire safety…

  • Know the risk level of the area in which you live. Attend as well to risks more broadly so you can help inform and protect family, friends, and other members of the community. Proactively track these risk levels, and monitor communications from local, state, and regional fire safety officials, emergency radio communications teams, and reputable news outlets.
  • Create a phone tree, and be prepared to make voice connections with those who may not immediately receive a text or email message, or see a social media post. Have an organized plan for early and proactive door-to-door safety checks as these are possible. Be prepared to offer special assistance to the elderly, disabled, and those who are otherwise ill or infirm. Have a plan as well to safely secure family pets.
  • Be prepared to evacuate. Keep emergency evacuation supplies in your vehicle. These should include a fire extinguisher or two. A fire ax or two. An electric or gas chain saw. Respirators. Safety helmets, protective shields, and protective eye wear. Access to water and towels. Maps marked with evacuation routes (at least two). A battery powered radio, a CB radio, GMRS hand held radio (“handie talkies” or “walkie talkies”), or a HAM radio. An extra set of keys. Spare eye glasses. Easy to access snacks. A thoughtfully prepared first aid kit, and sanitation supplies.
  • Know your evacuation routes, and have more than one option. Include destinations that are both close and more distant. Remember… Distance to safety will vary with conditions. A localized fire presents a scenario different from a larger forest fire spreading quickly, a chemical fire, or a fire involving the electrical grid or a nuclear power plant. Practice these routes, and develop the alternatives you might need should any fire escape route be compromised. Imagine scenarios that might require improvisation. Make these “surprise elements” part of your practice routine.
  • Review and update your get-home, go-bags and BOBs.
  • While working on fire evacuation safety plans, consider the ways in which you can improve your in-home fire safety (prevention and emergency evacuation).
  • Organize teaching resources and help to educate others. Include people of all ages including kids. Information and training is key to preventing panic, to coordinating an organized and effective emergency responses to any crisis including fire, and to the protection and preservation of people, pets, and property.

The Question: How can I further develop or improve the fire safety plans and protocols for my family, neighborhood, community, state, and region. Is it time to update or expand my tools or supplies? Do I have an “easy to read” written summary of emergency instructions? Have I circulated and posted this in multiple places? How can I help teach fire safety to others, or help to organize community based education and awareness?

Additional Reading:

Posted at Professor Preponomics: “Drought – The Dangerous Implications of Dry Times”

HINT: Survival is one of those pass-fail kinds of courses. A passing answer shall not include “there is nothing else I can do”. There’s a lot you can do. Let’s get started.

Remain steady. Stay well. Be safe everyone!

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