With several wildfires already cropping up throughout the state, early predictions of a long and busy fire season are proving to be spot on. In the Capital Region, dry weather and high winds create a significant potential for wildfires and the American Red Cross is urging residents to make sure households, schools and business are prepared.
More Fires Possible In May
The National Interagency Fire Center’s Predictive Services reports there will be a significant potential for wildfires this month in several states and severe drought conditions raise the possibility for severe early season fire activity continuing through the summer.
People should plan for two ways out of their neighborhood in case one is blocked, and select a place for members of their household to meet outside their neighborhood.
If wildfires are possible in someone’s community, they should make sure driveway entrances and house numbers are clearly marked and identify and maintain an adequate water source outside their home such as a small pond or swimming pool. It’s a good idea to select building materials and plants that resist fire, and regularly clean roofs and gutters. More information on wildfire safety is available on the preparedness section of www.redcross.org.
Download Wildfire App
Another thing people should do is download the free Red Cross Wildfire App, available in English or Spanish. The app, found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross, includes features like the “Blaze Tracker” which can be customized to alert someone to fires where they live, travel or have loved ones.
The Wildfire App also includes:
· “Blaze Warnings” which let users see areas where NOAA has issued warnings that conditions are favorable for potential wildfires.
· “Blaze Alerts” which inform users when a wildfire has begun within 100 miles of any locations monitored.
· “Blaze Path” from Inciweb.org which provides users with a current view of an existing wildfire’s perimeter, how it has spread and the fire’s current location when available.
· One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets, text or email that they are out of harm’s way.
· Locations of open Red Cross shelters.
· Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan.
· Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm.
How To Help
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and we help people get ready to respond to emergencies. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.