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What You Need to Know When a Wildfire Threat is Present

Wildfires are a growing threat to lives and property due to frequent drought, warmer temperatures, periodic high winds and excessive dried vegetation in forests and grasslands. Northern California's Camp Fire is the largest of the three major wildfires currently ablaze, followed by Southern California's Woolsey and Hill fires. Wildfires can find any weak links in the defensive measures you take to protect your property; however, even small steps to protect property can improve a structure's ability to withstand wildfires.

Before a wildfire event:

  • Have an emergency response plan that includes wildfire and review your business continuity plan and make sure your contacts, contracts, suppliers and alternate locations are up-to-date and available.
  • Distribute an emergency contact telephone call lists to all employees.
  • Make sure there is easily accessible tool storage area (near your facility) with rakes, hoes, axes and shovels in case of fire.
  • Ensure your building(s) include as much wildfire resistive construction as possible and ensure your defensible space is established and regularly maintained.

When a wildfire threat is present:

  • Monitor local and state government information distribution.
  • Move company vehicles out of the danger area. Have employees take them home, if possible.
  • If possible, move combustible material away from windows in preparation for an evacuation order.
  • Close all exterior windows, doors, and skylights, if possible.
  • If there are any valuable papers that have not been duplicated, keep them together in one place so they can easily be taken with you when you evacuate.
  • Ensure server data is backed up off-site or backed up and taken off-site.
  • Prepare to execute the emergency response plan.
  • Remind employees of the emergency response procedures, distribute employee telephone numbers, and emergency contact lists.
  • Identify modes and routes of transportation out of the wildfire area.

When you are ordered to evacuate:

  • Remove any combustible window coverings.
  • Shut off gas and fuel to the building. If you have fuel tanks outside, make sure all valves supplying fuel are shut off.
  • Turn off all machinery and equipment.
  • Make sure your fire sprinkler system is fully in service (with control valve open) if you have fire sprinklers.
  • Close and lock all doors, windows, and skylights.
  • Shut down HVAC equipment, especially the fans that bring outside air into the building.
  • Take a call list of employees with you in case you need it and start the process to let employees know the status of your business.
  • All persons must leave the location, and should not stay behind
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