Fires

A fire is an unplanned blaze that burns natural areas like forests, meadows or fields. Fires are being caused by lightning, deliberate or reckless human action. It happens anywhere and anytime. The risk increases during periods of low rainfall and strong winds. Fires can destroy houses and cause injury or death to people and animals. They can also cause flooding, disrupt transport, energy, gas, water or telecommunications. Fires are among the most important threats during both war and peace times (natural and man-made fires).

Before

• Listen to messages and alerts
• Learn about your community’s evacuation plans and find several ways to leave the area. Pass through the evacuation routes and find shelters. Prepare a plan for pets and livestock
• Keep evacuation backpacks for the whole family in a safe and accessible place; remember to have dust masks to filter out the particles from the air you breathe. Be aware of the specific needs of each person. Don’t forget the animals’ needs
• Assign a room that can be closed and separated from an outside air. Close all doors and windows. Seal frames with rags and blankets to ensure the cleanest air
• Keep important documents in a fireproof, safe place. Create password-protected digital copies
• Use fireproof materials for construction, renovation or repair
• Find an external water source with a hose that can reach anywhere on your property
• Locate gas installation valves, power switches and fuses in your property and provide easy access to them
• Regularly check the condition of your electrical, lightning, chimney systems and heating equipment
• Don’t overload the electricity network by connecting several devices to one socket
• Be particularly careful when using additional heating sources
• Install fire extinguishers and smoke detectors and familiarize your family with their operation
• Don’t storage flammable materials
• Review the scope of the insurance to make sure that it’s also suitable for the value of the property in case it burns down completely

During

• Evacuate yourself immediately, if you have been asked to do so by the authorities
• If you’re trapped, call the 112 number and report your localization. Remember that the help might be postponed or even impossible. Turn on the lights so that the rescuers will be able to see you
• Pay attention to messages and alerts
• Use a dust mask to keep the hazardous particles away from the air you breathe

After

• Listen to the authorities’ announcements to know both when will going home be safe and water will become drinkable
• Avoid hot ash, charred trees, smoldering debris and live heat. The earth may contain heat pockets that can burn you or cause another fire. Take special care of animals
• Text or use social media to reach family and friends. Telephone systems are often overloaded after a disaster. Call only in an emergency
• Document the damage on photographs. Conduct an inventory and contact the insurance company for assistance
• Fires change a landscape and ground conditions dramatically, what can lead to an increased risk of flooding due to heavy rain, sudden floods and mudslides. The risk of flooding remains much higher until vegetation is restored – up to 5 years after the fire. Consider buying flood insurance to protect the property you have restored and to provide financial protection against future floods