A huge part of California was ravaged by wildfire, from San Francisco to San Diego, the state suffered a record-breaking fire season. And it’s one that has just barely begun – the most active part of the fire season typically starts in September and lasts until the winter rains arrive in December.
And although this year’s fire season has already burned through 4.2 million acres (in California alone!) and left at least 31 people dead, many are heeding the warnings and preparing for the next big one. Which is good, because according to a survey conducted by Farmers Insurance, 60% of Americans do not have an emergency plan for natural disasters.
Across the state (and the Western U.S. in general), residents have been stocking up on emergency preparedness kits. As CalFire said in a recent statement, it’s not a matter of if there will be another major fire but when.
To make sure that you and your family are prepared for when fire strikes your commmunity, these nine items are those that should be included in every fire emergency safety kit:
A compact first aid kit should be in any Go Kit, whether or not it’s for wildfire. This popular option on Amazon comes in a nylon outer bag with waterproof inner plastic storage pouches, which work well for any weather conditions. You never know what you’ll encounter when you’re evacuating on short notice. It’s also equipped with a wide array of medications to treat pain, inflammation, and common allergies. But remember, you should also include at least one week of any prescription medications.
People Love It: “Great first aid kit. It comes with all the basics and has a “bit” more room to add a few things I wanted (Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets 4 of them, an EPI pen, bug spray – travel size and a small travel neosporin and a large garbage bag). The container is sturdy and zips nicely.” – Seattle Siren
Described as “compact yet powerful” this is the top-selling air purifier on Amazon right now. It features a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter, powerful enough to captures up dust, pollen, smoke, odor, pet dander, filters particles as small as 0.3 microns and air pollution of PM 2.5, which is essential as the wildfires burn closer and closer to homes.
People Love It: “I have no idea how to quantify how well this works, but I haven’t needed my inhaler since we got it. Our neighbors (older apartment building) are heavy smokers and my wife and I were both bothered by it. It feels better now. We’ve been leaving this running whenever we’re home.” – Chris
3. N95 Masks
As Covid-19 ravaged the country, many shops simply ran out of N-95 face masks, but at most places the masks are back in stock and should definitely be in any emergency kit meant for wildfire. You can wear the N95 mask under your cloth face covering or bandanna to prevent the inhalation of embers and particulate matter: think of all that ash falling from the skies over San Francisco and L.A.
People Love It: “Masks are exactly as described. Shape of this mask is comfortable and feels a little less claustrophobic than the typical KN95 masks available. Metal nose piece allows for a secure fit. They are individually packaged as well, which I appreciate. Would buy these again.” – Emily Johnson
Firefighters know you can’t have too many flashlights. It’s a great idea to keep a compact light on hand and make sure it’s one that uses the same AA batteries as all your other Go Kit supplies, so you only have to stock up on one battery type.
People Love It: “This was recommended by a police officer and I have to say, it’s the best flashlight I’ve ever used. It’s so compact (fits in your hand) and lightweight. The light it projects is shocking,..you will love it! This one was a gift and the receipient was delighted and surprised by the performance!” – KA
This Qi WIreles equipped power bank is essential to help make sure that you stay connected. Although it has a traditional power source and built-in battery, when power runs out you can charge the device just using the sunlight. It’s also got a built-in flashlight and comes with a compass!
People Love It: “This portable battery didn’t fail to amaze me as I have encountered countless portable batteries before. But never before have I thought of having an outdoor battery would immensely change my perceptions, about taking a practical and rugged portable battery.” – Hien & Bao
This corded, electric, solar, battery-powered emergency radio is your go-to emergency pack radio. It will keep you in touch with what is going on and help make sure you have access to all the information you need. It features AM/FM and 7 NOAA Weather Radio stations. But it’s more than just a radio, the device comes with an SOS Alarm, strong signal reception, and a bright flashlight and reading lamp that can illuminate the night.
People Love It: “Out of power? No problem. We got hand crank, we got dry-cell batteries, and we got solar. Need lights? There are lights located under the solar panels if you flip it out and could be useful for reading maps. I think the front flashlight with focusing ring is a bit dim, but maybe I am spoiled from other flashlights I have used.. Good for camping, and emergency.” – Tiges
A well-equipped backpack is key to any good emergency kit. This one available on Amazon is perfect for storing your “Go Kit.” Get one for each family member so each person has their own supply of water and food and all the necessary tools like flashlights and face masks.
People Love It: “I ordered three to test out with our people. It is super visible, and seems well made. There is even a small pocket on the shoulder strap to hold the flagger radio.” – Amazon Customer
One of the most important components of a safety kit (especially when dealing with wildfire) is eye protection. Embers are flying all over the place and ash could be falling from the sky. You’ve got to protect your eyes! These Stealth OG Goggles fit comfortably over most Rx eyewear; feature a wraparound style that provides good peripheral vision and also have an anti-fog coating.
People Love It: “Fantastic goggles. I was having trouble with the seal around my cheaper pair of goggles so I upgraded to these. I’m very happy with them. They have a very comfortable fit for my face and are easy to adjust. They are so clear I forgot I had them on and had to literally touch my face to see if I was wearing them.“ – Nicholas Driscoll
Of course, you can use an ordinary cotton bandanna or wool scarf, both of which would provide protection. But having this dedicated gaiter will protect your face and neck while evacuating, as it also has a fire resistant coating that helps ensure a safer exit.
People Love It: “The product itself is great. I work in industry where FR clothing is required. The neck gaiter itself started to weaken at the seam, but I called BenchMark and within minutes, they were processing a replacement for me. Excellent customer service, and you should note that if you have an issue with any BenchMark item, customer service will help you out and take care of the issue.” – David W
Let’s face it, evacuating is no easy feat. It’s extremely stressful, even when you have a plan and well-stocked emergency kit. So it’s important to bring along some sense of normalcy and what better way to do that then a deck of cards or a board game? This travel size Scrabble set on Amazon is perfect for staying entertained: it travels light and features a small portable case so it won’t take up much space in your evacuation kit.
People Love It: “Really nice travel scrabble set. Well made but could use a second set of tiles since they’re an odd size. A little bulkier than expected if you’re planning to pack it in a carry on bag. Don’t forget a scrabble dictionary for the plane. :)” – L. Kelly
All too often we’re scrambling to figure out how to take our pets with us and since they’re members of the family too it’s important they have their own emergency kit. This travel bag for pets is the perfect answer to that dilemma! The dog travel organizer tote bag is ideal for everyday use but is perfect for emergencies. It conveniently carries food, water, treats, leashes, a Frisbee, pet toys, and a first-aid kit.
People Love It: “Amazing! We just recently got a second dog and this bag was amazing! Held everything we needed for a long weekend trip. Each food bag held 8-10 cups of food and there was room for more. The collapsible bowls were perfect for the dogs while hiking. I highly recommend this.” – Ronda White
In addition to these essential items, any fire preparedness emergency kit should also feature the following:
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
- Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
- Prescriptions or special medications
- Change of clothing
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Don’t forget pet food and water!
Do you have your fire emergency kit ready to go? If so, did we miss anything on this list? Let us know!
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