By Sarah Chapman, Fort Wainwright Fire DepartmentJuly 3, 2013
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- As record high temperatures continue to climb and rainfall is scarce, more than 100 wildfires have started throughout Alaska, several of them in the Interior. Wildfires often begin unnoticed but spread very quickly. Reduce your risk by preparing now.
The U.S Fire Administration recommends creating a 30- to 100-foot safety zone around your home. Within this area you can reduce potential exposures to flames and radiant heat. Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs and clear all flammable vegetation from the area. Stack firewood at least 100 feet away and uphill from your home. Regularly dispose of newspapers and rubbish at an approved site.
To protect your home regularly clean the roof and gutters. Inspect chimneys at least twice a year and clean them at least annually. Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home and in bedrooms. Teach each Family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it is kept. Post emergency telephone numbers in the home.
If you are warned that a wildfire is threatening your area, follow the instructions of local officials. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Plan escape routes away from your home in advance. You can assemble a disaster supplies kit in advance with the items you may need if advised to evacuate. Include in your supplies:
• A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil.
• One change of clothing and footwear per person and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
• A first-aid kit that includes your Family's prescription medications.
• Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
• An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler's checks.
• Sanitation supplies.
• Special items for infant, elderly or disabled Family members.
• An extra pair of eyeglasses.
• Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Assemble a smaller version of your kit to keep in the trunk of your car.
People cause most wildfires. You can help prevent wildfires and help protect your Family and home. Please report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildfire. Teach children about fire safety and keep all matches and lighters out of their reach. Fireworks and open flames are not authorized on Fort Wainwright without a permit. This includes all portable fire pits, chimineas and campfires.
For additional information and more tips you can visit the U.S. Fire Administration website at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/wildfire/index.shtm or contact the Ft. Wainwright Fire Prevention Office at 353-9140.