North Salt Lake Parks and Open Space, South Davis Metro Fire, Wasatch Front Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands and North Salt Lake residents help an Eagle Scout implement his wildfire risk reduction project, 2018.
Even small actions can have a big impact on fire outcomes for your home, family and community. Whether you have 10 minutes or 10 hours to dedicate to wildfire preparedness this Prep Day, Saturday, May 1st, join people across the US and Canada that are taking action to increase their safety, strengthen their community resilience and improve fire outcomes.
Not sure where to start? Review this list of project ideas organized by the amount of time they require to complete, to find the perfect fit for your Prep Day plans.
Prepare your family, home and land:
- Call your local conservation district, Fire Safe Council, Firewise USA® community leader or local wildfire non-profit to schedule a site visit to talk about what you can do to better prepare your home and property.
- Put up a reflective address sign, or if you already have one, make sure it is visible from the street.
- Replace your indoor air filter or create a DIY box fan filter. Learn how your community shares air quality information so you can be up-to-date during wildfire season. Visit https://fire.airnow.gov/ to see the air quality monitors near you.
- Sign up for local emergency alerts. Make sure each member of your family is signed up. If you are planning a vacation in a wildfire-prone area, add “sign up for local emergency alerts” to your packing list.
Prioritize connections and relationships:
- Call 2-4 neighbors and ask them about their evacuation plans. If there are elderly residents, folks without transportation or people with other mobility challenges in your community, prioritize calls and connections with these folks.
Protect your assets:
- Conduct an insurance check up to ensure your coverage is up to date and sufficient. Create a video walk through of your home or an inventory list of belongings and upload it to cloud storage (e.g. Google Drive) instead just on your computer’s hard drive.
- Backup your important documents and photos to cloud storage to reduce the amount of physical material you would want to take if you need to evacuate.
- Secure renter’s insurance if you do not already have coverage and need it.
Plan, assess, refresh and purchase:
- Walk around your home and complete a wildfire checklist. Pay special attention to the zone 0-5 feet from your structure.
- Make or refresh your family members’ go-bags. Or, if your go-bags are ready, make a go-bag to give to a neighbor.
- If you live in an area where Public Safety Power Shutoffs are likely, consider how you will cope without power. Purchase a portable power bank to charge your cell phone and medical equipment. If you have a generator, ensure that it is functioning properly.
- Create or practice your family emergency plan. Know two ways out of your neighborhood, and other locations where you and your family members spend time. Remember, you may have to evacuate from a location other than your home.
Engage, donate or volunteer:
- Call a local organization that promotes community well-being, mutual-aid, or social and environmental justice and learn more about how they are working to improve community resilience. Ask them if wildfire issues are part of their work, and if not, ask if they would be interested in including fire preparedness work in their conversations.
- If your family and home are well-prepared, consider volunteering to support preparedness and risk reduction of community facilities such as senior centers, assisted living facilities or day care centers. Make connections with the folks that operate such facilities in your community and find out if they need volunteers or support.
Get sweaty, handy, or both!
- Chip and remove your yard debris piles. Where allowable and safe, burning yard debris can reduce the available fuel on your property. If you are burning, make sure to follow local rules governing pile burning and air quality.
- Replace vents and screening with ⅛ inch non-combustible mesh to prevent ember intrusion.
- Limb low hanging branches or encroaching vegetation that would make your driveway or access road dangerous for a fire engine.
- Create a neighborhood communication thread, group, or forum, like those on NextDoor or Facebook, focused on wildfire preparedness. Invite your neighbors and begin sharing useful information and updates there to establish the space as a valuable source of information and connection.
- If you work outside the home, talk with your colleagues and/or boss about fire preparedness, how your workplace is taking action and what more you could do. Consider sharing fire preparedness information at a future staff meeting or special workshop.
- Conduct some community asset mapping to organize collective assets and contributions.
Share your vision:
- Review the schedule of local government meetings such as City Council meetings, Planning Commision meetings or other local government gatherings where you could provide public comment. Plan to attend an upcoming meeting and prepare some comments that outline your thoughts and questions about wildfire.
- Host a virtual (or COVID-conscious outdoor) block party where you get to know your neighbors and share information about local fire resources. Talk about the relationship to fire you and your community would like to foster.
- Write and submit a “Letter to the Editor” to your local paper about your vision for fire in your community.
- If you are a business owner, complete the “Business Resiliency Workbook for Smoke Preparedness.”
- For residents, learn about how to create healthy indoor air during times of wildfire or prescribed fire smoke. Service your air filter system. Call your local public health department or health care provider to determine if clean air shelters or cleaner air spaces will be set up in your area in case they become necessary for you.
Deepen your knowledge:
- Learn about and support Indigenous fire management where you live.
- Talk with your local university extension office about fire-dependent species or call your local land management agency to ask about where last spring’s prescribed fires occurred. Take a hike through areas where fire has been restored, and notice the plants and animals you see.
- Consider spending some time on a fire ecology lesson; the FireWorks program is designed for students in grades K-12 and has lessons for different ecological regions. Visit our blog for more educational ideas for the whole family!
Dedicate a day to the first five feet:
- Complete the actions recommended by your site assessment: move your firewood pile, replace bark mulch with rock or pavers, clean out materials from underneath your deck and make sure your gutters are free of debris.
- Check your seals and tiles! Replace any damaged seals around garage doors, pet doors, skylights or windows. Replace any roof tiles or bird-stops that were damaged in the winter. While you are up on the roof, remove any litter or debris from the roof valleys.
- Make a plan to replace your roof if it is not ignition-resistant. Call roofing companies for quotes and make a replacement plan. This might include setting aside the necessary financial resources or creating a savings plan.
If you’re still looking for project ideas, take this quiz to explore additional options. Your actions this Prep Day can have an impact. Share your project ideas in the comments!
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