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Emergency survival for wild land fires

PALESTINE, July 6, 2014— In wild land fire disaster, people who are in the path of a fire are basically responsible for their own safe evacuation.  For communities with persistent drought surrounded by forest areas with many acres of vegetation that have not burned in many years, preparedness is the key to surviving wild land fires.

These simple steps may save your life, those of your family, and protect your home from the devastating effects of wild land fires.

  • Clear brush away from your home (a minimum of 100 feet).
  • Trim all trees and tree branches away from electrical lines and chimneys.
  • Remove weak, dead, and leaning trees and bark beetle infested trees.
  • Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your home or other structures.
  • Store all combustible or flammable liquids in approved storage containers.
  • Locate all propane tanks at least 30 feet from any structure.
  • Ensure that your street is clearly marked and posted.
  • Ensure your house numbers are clearly visible both day and night from the street.
  • Know at least two exit routes from your neighborhood in case of emergency.
  • Make sure emergency vehicles can access your property.
  • Develop and practice a home evacuation plan which includes a floor plan with all escape routes, easily accessible exits for young children, seniors, and persons with disabilities.
  • Work with neighbors to assist people with special needs and people who need transportation to other sites.
  • Work with local emergency officials to identify routes out of your neighborhood, likely evacuation sites, or safe refuge areas.

Remember that smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.  Smoke may worsen symptoms for people who have pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  Listen and watch for news or health warnings about smoke and pay attention to local air quality reports.

For more information, contact Palestine Resource for Independent Living (PRCIL), 421 Avenue A, Palestine, Texas, 903- 729-7505.

© 2017 Tomlinson-Leis Communications L.P.