What to Do Before, During & After a Wildfire
Hundreds of wildfires burn millions of acres across California every year. If you own a home or business in Los Angeles, they’re a fact of life, especially during the dry summer months. But although wildfires are unpredictable and dangerous, that doesn’t make property damage from the fire, smoke, and soot inevitable. A wildfire can spark without warning, so it is important that you know what to do before, during, and after one to protect your property and loved ones.
What should you do BEFORE a wildfire?
- Know your fire risk. The closer you are to campgrounds, parks, and heavily wooded areas like the Hollywood Hills or the Verdugo Mountains, the higher your risk.
- Have an evacuation plan. Local fire departments may require you to evacuate your home or business to assist them in containing the flames. Store important documents like passports, birth, and marriage records in easily portable or fire-resistant containers. Have a “go” bag ready with first aid supplies, water, non-perishable food, and clothing. Know how you will contact and where you will meet up with family members.
- Clear brush and other flammable materials. Create a defensible space around your property by clearing dead vegetation off your roof, deck, and patio. Consider planting fire-resistant plants, replacing mulch with stone or gravel, and storing flammable materials like paints, firewood, and furniture away from inhabited buildings. Remember: it takes just seconds for dry grass and trees to ignite and threaten nearby structures!
What should you do DURING a wildfire?
If you are at home or work during a wildfire, stay alert to changing conditions and heed advisories. If the fire is moving towards your community, follow evacuation orders and leave quickly enough to stay safe.
If you are not under an evacuation order:
- Stay indoors and close all windows and doors.
- While not ideal if it’s hot outside, turn off air conditioning units so they don’t blow smoke and ash into your home.
- Keep a list of emergency contact numbers handy in case of a power outage or loss of cellular service due to damaged power lines and towers.
- Most importantly, stay away from fire-affected areas! First responders don’t need to be worried about your safety or delayed from getting where they need to go by civilian onlookers.
What should you do AFTER a wildfire?
First and foremost, heed the instructions of your local fire department and DO NOT reenter your property until they deem it safe to do so.
If your property was damaged by the flames, you have soot and ash covering your structure or inside it, or the smell of smoke is permeating the building, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. The sooner our fire damage restoration team is able to get on-site to inspect and mitigate the damage, the better our chances of restoring your property to its preloss condition. We can also provide board-up services to protect your property and prevent further damage from graffiti, theft, or squatters.
Wildfires can be one of Los Angeles’ most devastating natural disasters. Being prepared can help protect you, your family, and your property from fire damage. But in the event of a fire damage emergency, remember the name SERVPRO NoHo. Call us 24/7 for an immediate response and let us help you restore your property “Like it never even happened.”