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(Kansas City, MO) – This is the time of year for fun outdoor activities like Independence Day celebrations, camping, outdoor grilling and road trips, but before you head out, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reminds you to plan for the dangers associated with wildfire threats. Learn and put into practice important summer-survival tips to help protect yourself, your property and the environment.

To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit filled with items such as prescription medication, water, and other essential items for you and your pet. Also, if you don’t have one, create a family emergency plan. More on these plans can be found at www.ready.gov.

Some other tips include:

  • Asking local emergency management officials or the local American Red Cross chapter how you would be warned if a wildfire threatened.
  • Meeting with other household members to discuss where to go and what to bring if advised to evacuate, and plan several escape routes away from your home – by car and by foot.
  • Talk to your neighbors about wildfire safety. Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a wildfire, and consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs such as the elderly, disabled persons, and children.

Tips to protect your home

  • Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation, including any hiding under structures.
  • Create a 100 foot safety zone around your home.
  • Make sure that fire vehicles can get to your home. Clearly mark all driveway entrances and display your name and address.
  • Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns, and remove limbs within 15 feet of the ground.
  • Remove dead branches that extend over the roof. Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet. Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
  • Show responsible family members how and when to shut off water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
  • Remove vines from the walls of the home.
  • Mow grass regularly.
  • Follow local burning regulations.

Practice Wildfire Safety

In the U.S., nine out of 10 wildfires are started by people being careless. Take these steps to protect lives, property and the environment from the devastation they cause.

  • Contact your local fire department, health department, or forestry office for information on fire laws.
  • Report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildfire.
  • Teach children about fire safety. Keep matches out of their reach.
  • Post fire emergency telephone numbers.

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