Fire evacuation - What you need to know

Fire inside building

During wildfire season, you may be forced to evacuate your home or business. People are your first priority. Most fire evacuations provide at least a three-hour notice. Take proactive steps before and during an evacuation to reduce anxiety and avoid injuries. You can also make your facility more fire resistant. Visit nifc.gov for fire status information and droughtmonitor.unl.edu for your area’s drought conditions.


Before the evacuation

  • Coordinate with the American Red Cross, FEMA, and other emergency agencies to give them the locations of your evacuation sites.
  • Prepare and post route maps for each site, including alternate routes. With a large fire, you may need to use “Plan B.”
  • Consider forming a cooperative agreement with another site to share resources and serve as an evacuation site.
  • Work with your regional Forest Service to train staff on emergency procedures during offsite trips, such as trail rides and hikes. Train staff to avoid areas such as closed-in box canyons during fires. Visit firewise.org for training information and resources.
  • Identify key equipment to be evacuated, including computers.
  • Stock a four-day supply of water and easily-prepared food.

During the evacuation

  • Explain your evacuation procedures. Arrange for people to communicate with their families.
  • Identify special medical needs and gather emergency equipment and necessities, including trauma supplies for ready access.
  • Designate enough vehicles to evacuate everyone safely.
  • Equip staff with emergency communications equipment (cell phones, whistles).
  • Load key equipment, food, and water.
  • Warn firefighters of underground fuel storage or LP gas tanks before you leave.
  • If you have horses or livestock, consider evacuating them or setting them loose in safe areas.
  • For horses, consider adding a two-day supply of feed.

Filing claims

  • Gather important records, which may include your computer.
  • Using a video or disposable camera, photograph buildings, interiors, and contents to document what was lost in the fire.
  • Making your facility fire resistant
  • Wet down buildings and roofs.
  • Have qualified personnel cut down trees in the fire path.
  • Using qualified staff, bulldoze a firebreak, or cut field grass as short as possible.
  • Remove brush and dry vegetation near buildings.
  • Ask qualified associates to disconnect and move LP gas tanks to a safer location, such as a gravel lot, or follow the manufacturer's instructions to empty the tanks.
Fire inside building
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

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