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Red Cross Wildfire Preparation Tips

Wildfires near Dorrance on June 27Early spring and extremely dry and windy conditions across Kansas are the perfect recipe for wildfires, but according to fire officials, nearly 95 percent of all wildfires result from the activity of people.

Many wildfires can be prevented through taking proper actions toward fire safety.

"The Red Cross is partnering with government and community leaders to provide necessary resources in case of an outbreak," said Brandon Holstrom, Regional Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross Kansas, Nebraska, Southwest Iowa Region. "We urge the public to be prepared and extremely cautious during this time of year."

Things you can do to prepare for wildfires should they strike in your area:

  • Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
  • Limit exposure to smoke and dust. Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
  • Keep the areas surrounding your home clear of brush, debris and other materials that may catch fire.
  • Have an emergency kit of items you may need in case you should be affected by fires. Make sure you have critical documents, medications, food and water for your entire family. Visit redcross.org for information on how to make an emergency kit.
  • If ordered to evacuate, leave immediately and head for shelter – family or friends, a hotel, a Red Cross shelter or other location you select.
  • Be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
  • Always 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 at a friend or relative's home outside the threatened area.
  • Talk with members of your household about wild fires — how to prevent them and what to do if one occurs.
  • Post emergency phone numbers by every phone in your home or on your cell phone.
  • Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked.
  • Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well or swimming pool.
  • Set aside household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, ax, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and shovel. You may need to fight small fires before emergency responders arrive.

Download the free Red Cross Emergency App:

The Red Cross Emergency App contains tips on how to assemble an emergency kit and how to create a plan so all household members will know what to do in case they can't make it home or they have to evacuate. "Family Safe" is a unique feature that allows users to notify loved ones who are in an affected area. They can also use the app to let people know that they are safe. The app has a map with open Red Cross shelter locations and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. Preparedness content is available in English and Spanish. People can download the app in their app store or by going to redcross.org/apps.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit Facebook at facebook.com/KansasRedCross or Twitter at @KSRedCross.

(Information courtesy American Red Cross.)

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