Prepare Your Family
Evacuation plans for families with young children should include helping
toddlers understand how to quickly respond in case of fire,
and how adults can escape with babies. Prepare ahead of time by practicing
your family’s fire escape plan, and what to do to be safe
when there is a wildfire nearby.
It is important to talk to toddlers and small children at a level that they
understand and that does
not frighten. Here are a few resources that offer guides and tips for
families with young children about fire safety and preparing
for a disaster:
Seniors and people with disabilities also need special consideration when
preparing for a disaster. Below are
several resources that help individuals and families with special needs plan
for an event such as a wildfire.
Put together your emergency supply kit long before a wildfire or other
disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so
you can take it with you when you have to evacuate. Plan to be away from
your home for an extended period of time. Each person
should have a readily accessible emergency supply kit. Backpacks work great
for storing these items (except food and water)
and are quick to grab. Storing food and water in a tub or chest on wheels
will make it easier to transport. Keep it light enough
to be able to lift it into your car. Ensure you plan with COVID-19 in mind.
Face masks or coverings
Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per
Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
Prescriptions or special medications
Change of clothing
Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
First aid kit
Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
Don’t forget pet food and water!
Items to take if time allows:
Easily carried valuables
Family photos and other irreplaceable items
Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and
handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.
For more information on
emergency supplies, visit
Prepare now for poor air quality events due to wildfire smoke. The best time to prepare for poor air
quality is while air
quality is good, since these events can occur with little warning and smoke from wildfires can
travel quickly, and cause
air pollution throughout the San Joaquin Valley.
Stay connected with those you care about and check in on elderly neighbors, people with chronic
babies, and toddlers.
Wildfire smoke can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. It can make
you cough and wheeze, and can make it hard to breathe for
some people. If you have asthma or another lung disease, or heart disease,
inhaling wildfire smoke can be especially bad for you.
Most healthy people will recover quickly from wildfire smoke exposure and
will not suffer long-term health consequences. However, certain
people may experience more severe acute and chronic symptoms. Fine particles
from smoke and coarse particles from ash can cause coughing,
wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Wildfire smoke exposure can also trigger
exacerbations of asthma, chronic-obstructive pulmonary
disease, and heart conditions.
If you see or smell smoke, protect your health by avoiding exposure. The
best way to protect yourself is to stay indoors in cleaner
air and minimize the amount of time spent outdoors in smoky conditions,
until smoke levels subside.
There are many precautions you can take to limit your exposure to wildfire
Keep windows and doors closed to keep the smoke from coming indoors.
Turn off continuous ventilation systems that pull in outside air. Set
air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent
outside air from moving inside.
Close fireplace dampers.
Make sure you don’t introduce other sources of indoor air pollution by
avoiding smoking, frying food, burning candles, and running the vacuum.
Indoor air quality can be improved by using portable HEPA filters and
frequently changing your home heating system’s integrated air filter
with a properly rated particulate filter.
Check air quality readings before allowing children to practice outdoor
sports while air quality is unhealthy.
If it is too warm to stay indoors with the windows closed, or if you are
especially sensitive to smoke, consider temporary re-location.
Environmental Protection Agency has info about
how wildfire smoke affects indoor air quality.
Children, older adults, individuals with lung or heart disease, pregnant
individuals, and people with social vulnerabilities
are particularly susceptible to elevated air pollution levels and should
take extra precautions to avoid exposure.
Individuals with health conditions should talk to their physicians to
develop a personal plan for dealing with smoke.
Those with heart or lung disease, older adults, pregnant individuals,
and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion, and should either
reschedule outdoor activities or move them to another location.
Elevated particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing in those who
suffer from asthma, emphysema, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
(COPD), or other respiratory conditions.
People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan.
Keep up to two weeks’ worth of extra medication on hand. Be ready with
plans to treat asthma or diabetes when there is smoke.
Contact your physician if you have cough, shortness of breath, or other
symptoms believed to be caused by smoke. If you are concerned, consult
with your physician for personalized recommendations.
Leave the affected area if possible, for the duration of the heavy smoke
Check the latest air quality data for your area by searching your location
https://www.airnow.gov/. What you
should do depends on the air quality index. Due to the active wildfires and
changing wind patterns,
air quality can be variable and unpredictable. Air quality may improve at
times or get worse, very quickly.