This morning, I wake up to the news that there are two raging wildfires here in Southern California. One is called the Thomas Fire over in Ventura County area and the other is called the Creek Fire somewhere near the Sylmar area.
So far, over 150 structures destroyed, including one hospital, and over 27,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. No containment so far so it’s still ongoing.
Many people near the affected areas that are not under evacuation orders are out of power. Smoke is also an issue depending on which way the wind blows.
As I’m watching the news, I think about my survival gear and what’s most important at this time that you would need.
So what do you do to prepare and what should you have ready?
Pack your essentials – some clothes, food, and important documents. Grab your bug-out bag if you have one and pack both of these in your car ready to go.
You should always have a bug-out bag or emergency/survival kit ready because you just don’t know when these things happen. I went to sleep last night and everything was fine. This morning, the wildfire that started in the middle of the night has already destroyed 150 buildings within a few hours.
Use your emergency radio. Many residents don’t have power so they can’t watch the news to see what’s going on and the fire may have taken down the cell towers so you may not have a connection on your cell phone. This is when you need an emergency radio. See my article on emergency radios.
Have respirators ready. You don’t need the crazy expensive respirators in most cases but you should get at least an N95 Particulate Respirator with Valve. These are about $18 for a 10-pack on Amazon. You can also get these at your local hardware stores.
Have a fire extinguisher ready. Every household should have a fire extinguisher. I keep a small one in the kitchen pantry.
If you have a lot of dry brushes around your home, water them down a bit if you can. If there’s a lot of smoke out there while you’re watering things down, don’t forget to wear a respirator mask.
If you don’t have a respirator mask, wet a rag, t-shirt, or some type of cloth that you can wrap around your nose and mouth. By wetting it, it’ll trap the particulate matter in the smoke.
Most importantly of all, stay safe and listen to authorities. Maybe you don’t want to wait for them to tell you to evacuate because, by that time, there may be traffic issues getting out of the area.
With no containment in sight and with the winds blowing in your direction, you may want to leave already.
So be safe and be prepared.