It is often said, “Proper planning prevents poor performance”. This sentiment couldn’t be more true than when it comes to an emergency. With the 2018 wildfire season upon us, it is more important than ever to know what to do when fire occurs and what resources are available to you. The High Park Fire of 2012 showed us how swift, coordinated action on the part of both emergency professionals and local residents is critical. Much of Larimer County is located within or very near to forests and grasslands that are currently at high risk for severe wildfire. Peaks to People believes in being proactive in the management of our forests to reduce the severity of wildfire in Northern Colorado. We also believe in being prepared to react quickly and successfully in the event a wildfire does occur.
When a wildfire breaks out again in Larimer County will you know what to do?
WHAT TO DO BEFORE A WILDFIRE
- Sign up to receive emergency notifications from the Larimer Emergency Telephone Authority. LETA911 is the Governing Authority for 9-1-1 in Larimer County Colorado.
- This Emergency Alert System allows Larimer County officials to alert you if there is an emergency situation in your area.
- LETA Emergency Notifications are compatible with landlines, mobile phones, and email.
- Review national fire incident information and updates online at InciWeb.
- Check local and state wide fire restrictions
- Create a “defensible space” around your home.
- Review the Colorado State Forest Service Defensible Space Checklists HERE.
- Develop a family disaster response plan complete with escape routes and an emergency meeting place.
- Have an emergency go-kit with supplies readily available.
- Include prescription medication and back-up eye glasses/contacts.
- Post emergency phone numbers by every phone in your home.
- Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked.
- Review your homeowners/renters insurance policy to ensure you have adequate coverage.
- Make arrangements for relocation of pets and animals should you be evacuated.
WHAT TO DO DURING A WILDFIRE
Resources for Larimer County Residents
- Go to https://www.larimer.org/emergency to view current emergency announcements or call the Larimer County Emergency Information Line at (970) 498-5500.
- Get recorded updates by calling the Fire Incident Information Hotline: (970) 498-1030.
- Listen to local television and radio stations, such as KRFC 88.9FM, for updates on evacuations and emergency information.
- Follow CO – Emergency Mgmt and Larimer County on Twitter and Facebook
- Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
- Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
- Confine pets to one room so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
- Arrange for temporary housing for your family and your animals outside the threatened area.
- Place valuable papers and mementos in your car in case of evacuation.
If you are advised to evacuate your home Poudre Fire Authority recommends:
- Turn on outside lights and leave a light on in every room so your home is more visible in heavy smoke.
- Leave outside doors unlocked to allow firefighters easy access to your home.
- Open any barn doors or fences to allow large animals to escape.
- If Police or Fire personnel instruct you to evacuate to a specific location DO NOT go anywhere else, the fire may have spread to other areas.
Supplies to take with you if you need to evacuate:
- Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply)
- Food—nonperishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply)
- Battery powered or hand-crank radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents such as: list of medications and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home(s), birth certificates, insurance policies, jewelry appraisals, drivers licenses, documents of ownerships, bank accounts
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
- Other essential items that could not be replaced if they were destroyed
If you are certain that you have time to protect your home you should:
- Turn off gas and pilot lights.
- Close your windows.
- Seal attic and ground vents.
- Close all doors inside your home to prevent drafts.
- Open the damper on your fireplace but close the fireplace screen.
- Notify relatives and local officials that you have left your home and where you can be reached.
- Wet your roof and shrubs within 15 feet of your home.
With the threat of wildfire so high this year it has never been more important to stay informed and react quickly. It’s not if a wildfire will happen but when. Proper preparation can save your life and the lives of those you love. Stay safe Colorado.
For more detailed information on what to do before, during and after a wildfire visit these resources: