The California Wildfire Season comes every year, Los Angeles, and we need to be prepared. California’s drought has reached terrible proportions, meaning fire season now happens earlier and more often, and we want you to be ready.
Don’t wait for a red flag warning before you gather what you need in an emergency preparedness kit: take a look at our list of 10 items you must have ready for your family. And then, take action: make a plan, build your kit, and keep your family safe.
We can all probably remember just a couple of years ago, when the Woolsey fire broke out in Ventura and LA counties and there was a fire in Griffith Park, too. At that time, authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders and families needed to get away quickly. If you had to get out quickly to save your family, would you be ready?
Fire Season is Coming
During fire season, all LA residents need to be ready to evacuate in case of emergency, or to be prepared at home, even if there’s a power outage, which are all the more likely as utility companies in our state have said they will cut power during strong or dry winds to reduce the risk of fire.
And it’s important to get prepared for power outages or natural disasters before they happen, since as we know from past fires, the evacuation orders can come at any time; like in the middle of the night.
Related: Is Earthquake Insurance Worth it?
What should you have in an Emergency Preparedness Kit?
We’re sharing things in our own survival kit, including some key supplies you can buy at Batteries Plus Bulbs, a retail chain offering 32,000 types of batteries and light bulbs to power homes, businesses, automobiles and more. You can find products for your wildfire preparedness kit at Batteries Plus Bulbs stores, which are currently offering curbside pickup – or you can buy them online at batteriesplus.com.
The 10 most important things every Survival Kit should include:
1. Flashlights and Lanterns
Whether you’re awakened at night by an emergency, or if the power simply goes out, it’s a great idea to have flashlights around the house. There’s a very cool “area light” lantern by Coast that would light up a room, or would be great for just sitting around a campfire. It also has an emergency setting.
Find all these supplies and more in our MomsLA Amazon Shop.
2. Food and Water supplies
It’s important to pack non-perishable emergency food and enough water to last 72 hours. If your power goes out and you can stay in your home, you’ll probably want to keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as long as possible. That’s when canned foods will really come in handy. And don’t skimp on the amount of bottled water you have stored. It’s super important.
3. Extra Batteries
You’ll want to have plenty of batteries on hand, not just for those flashlights and lanterns, but for any portable radios or other electronics. And be sure to stash different battery sizes: some big flashlights take size D, but many kid-sized ones will need AAAs.
4. Phone chargers
We already rely on our phones all day long, for getting information as well as communicating, so imagine how you’d feel if your phone died during an emergency? Check out these super cool pre-charged, instant phone chargers from Pawamini.com. If the emergency drags on, you’ll want to power down sometimes, and that’s where the next item comes in handy.
5. Battery powered radio, with extra batteries
You’ll want to stay informed during any emergency, and a portable radio will really come in handy, especially because you won’t want to rely exclusively on your phone. And we already mentioned the extra batteries.
6. Portable Power Charger
This powerful unit from DieHard will jumpstart your car battery if necessary, and it can also charge your cell phones and power your computer or other electronics. It’s got a USB port right in it. Not a bad idea to have a DC-AC inverter on hand as well. Just in case. Such a great back-up plan when you need it.
7. Clothing for each family member
Think about having a sturdy pair of shoes, long pants, long sleeved shirt and a jacket on hand for each family member, as well as cloth or dust masks, and whistles (to call for help, if necessary). We have a backpack ready for everyone, filled with clothes and toiletries.
8. Medical supplies
It’s always smart to have a fully-stocked first aid kit, but keep in mind you’ll want to bring along any prescription medicine your family may need in the event of an emergency, so keep that stored in a place you can easily access it.
9. Your important documents
Put what you need in a watertight container, and take photos or scan them and keep them on a flashdrive. Include birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, social security cards, insurance papers, immunization records and bank and credit card accounts. Place everything else you need in a fire-proof safe.
Speaking of important documents, if you have family photo albums, you will probably want to bring them along if you have to evacuate.
In the Event of Emergency
In addition to your emergency preparedness kit, here are a few other things your family should do now, so you’re ready for anything:
10. Have a Family Escape Plan
Ready.gov recommends families choose a place to go if they need to evacuate ahead of time and identify more than one way to get there. If you have animals, find a place that can take them.
Identify a Family Meet-up Location
If family members are at work or school, plan a meet-up location with more than one way to get there in case some roads are closed.
Find Out Your Child’s School’s Evacuation Plan
Figure out more than one way to get to and from the school and determine who will pick up kids in case of emergency. While this may not apply to this school year, it will again, so keep it in the back of your mind.
Prepare to Leave Home Immediately
Stock your car trunk with an extra emergency kit, keep some water and non-perishable food on hand, and keep your gas tank full so you’re always ready to evacuate if necessary.
Your Safety is Important
No matter what happens, be calm and be prepared. Create your emergency preparedness kit step by step. Sign up to get emergency alerts for LA County Residents through alert.lacounty.gov or for Los Angeles Residents, sign up through emergency.lacity.org/notifyla.
Related: Get the Kids involved in Energy Savings
Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder and Managing Editor of MomsLA.com.