Multiple fires are raging in Southern California. A series of Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires have destroyed hundreds of structures, forced thousands to flee and smothered the region with smoke in what officials predicted would be a pitched battle for days.
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As four major fires burn throughout Southern California, many residents face mandatory evacuations.
The brush fires move quickly. A small flame can grow out of control in 30 seconds, and temperatures can reach 600 degrees at eye level, according to Ready LA, a city website for emergency preparedness.
In a rush, some choose to grab sentimental objects, such as medals and photographs. But what should you be gathering ahead of time to be prepared if you must evacuate?
The basic disaster supply kit should include nonperishable foods and one gallon of water a day for at least three days, a first aid kit, flashlights, prescription medication, a change of clothing, sanitation supplies, cellphone chargers and other basics.
Pack similar items for your pets. Put smaller animals in carriers and be sure dogs and cats have collars and tags.
Documents such as insurance policies, identification cards and bank account records should be carried in waterproof, portable containers or saved electronically, according to Ready.gov, a federal emergency preparedness website.
Before you leave, windows and doors should be locked and flammable window shades and curtains should be removed, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Air conditioning and gas should be shut off, but lights should be left on so firefighters can see the house in smoke. Cal Fire also recommends moving flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from doors and windows.
Evacuees should plan at least two evacuation routes in case major roads or highways close as well as several places to take shelter, such as a friend’s home or a motel. Since most public shelters only allow service animals, pet owners should also find temporary shelters for their pets.
Below is a list of additional supplies that should be included in basic emergency kits or can be useful in emergency events:
- Non-prescription medications
- Glasses and contact lense solution
- Pads, tampons and other feminine hygiene items
- Extra water and food for pets
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Paper cups, plates, towels and utensils
- Pencil and paper
- Chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Local maps
- Can opener