Information Related to Preparing for Forest Fire and Evacuation For Residents
A checklist of things to do now!
This page covers a great deal of information and procedures, however, it may not be all-inclusive. Each individual and home is different. Contact your Volunteer Fire Department and/or the Cook County Emergency Management, for questions concerning specific situations.
I. Have a fire prevention plan:
- Limit sources of fire (fire pits, gas grills, etc.) within 30 feet of all structures. --(Fire Safe Home Checklist)
- Reduce fuel sources (gasoline, propane, trees, woodpiles) within 30 feet of all structures. -- (Fire Safe Home Checklist)
- Educate yourself, your family, and your guests about the wildfire potential and all plans related to the danger.
- Install sprinklers.
- Have and maintain fire fighting equipment including:
Note: For specific information on most of the prevention measures above, please refer to the USFS, DNR and Emergency Management links.
- Good, reliable fire pumps and hoses.
- Enough hose to protect all your structures/values.
- Protective gear for you, your family, and guests.
- Request an inspection by the fire department of your property. Show them what fire equipment is available and where it is stored, and where potential hazards are located (e.g. gas and propane tanks).
- Provide good access/egress to your structures and usable turn-arounds for fire trucks.(Recommended specifications.)
II. Have a family emergency plan:
- Post emergency procedures in your home/cabin, which includes evacuation procedures and where to go for information.
- Make sure your family and your guests are aware of emergency procedures.
- A system designed to account for and keep track of your family and guests.
- A daily logbook for where family members and guests go when off premises. Sign out and sign in.
- Designate locations to meet in the event you are separated.
- A designated location for your family and guests to meet if local roads are blocked.
- Arrange, with a family in a lower fire risk area, where your family and guests can stay if evacuated. (In Grand Marais or other North Shore location, for example.)
- Pre-arrange alternate means of escape to an area of refuge/staging area if your regular methods of travel are not possible. Review with your family and guests. Make sure you keep your vehicles and boats gassed up and ready to be used. Keep emergency supplies in your vehicles and boats.
- Arrangements for family members with special needs.
- Arrangements for pets. If you are evacuated, pets must accompany you. You must arrange for housing the pets. (See detailed information.)
- An pre-packed emergency suitcase that is ready to go if you need to leave:(think of it as getting ready for a weekend away from home)
**The Red Cross website has lots of ideas that may be useful
- Extra eyeglasses
- Medications in original bottles
- Cash, billfold, credit cards, personal ID
- Natural fiber (wool or cotton) clothing to wear
- Extra clothes in a suitcase
- Food, water
- A list of important phone, credit card, insurance and other numbers
- Blankets or sleeping bags and pillows
- Personal toilet articles
III. Your part of the communications plan:
IV. Have a personal backup plan:
- Locate the nearest businesses with an information bulletin board for the public.
- Determine if your neighbors have a calling tree and your place on it.
- Inform the calling tree if you will be away and unable to make the calls for which you are responsible.
- Make sure your phone numbers on the calling tree are correct. Know who you are responsible to call, and who is responsible for calling you.
- Give contact numbers for your main residence to your Lake Association or neighbors.
- Have outside communications sources if phones go down (i.e.. radio).
- Make sure relatives have contact numbers of neighbors, Lake Associations, or Cook County Sheriff if an emergency occurs and they are unable to reach you.
V. Potential purchases for emergency preparedness:
- Have your records in a form that is mobile and can be taken with you.
- Have back-up copies of your records/computer files.
- Have a place for your phones to be forwarded.
- Have a current inventory, for insurance purposes, stored off premises.
- Have a video/photographic record of your property and inventory.
- Protect, or remove and store elsewhere, sentimental valuables.
- Satellite phone
- NOAA Radio
- Fire pump
- Protective clothing (natural fiber or nomex)
- Water and food stores
- "Dust masks" for smoke
- Goggles for ash and smoke
- First Aid kit
- Minimize your exposure to potential security problems during an emergency now.
- Have a set of keys for all your buildings or other locks in your emergency kit.
Remember to leave your house unlocked as fire fighter may need to use it as a shelter in a burn over. If they are willing to risk their lives to save your house, the least you can do is give them an opportunity to shelter up.
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