Congratulations to Napa, California artist Cali Olmstead, age 10, for being the Napa Communities Firewise Foundation featured artist for the month of August. Cali’s illustration of two firefighters protecting their animal friends from a crown fire is an important reminder that every household needs an emergency plan (for people, pets and large animals) that can be quickly put into action at a moment’s notice.
Animals have a natural instinct that they intuitively use during wildfires, but humans require practice to get it to be second nature – just like the muscle memory concept used in sports.
Wildfires move quickly and often require immediate actions – if you have a child that babysits, or use a teen babysitter, make an opportunity soon to share your emergency plan and clearly define the actions they should and should not implement if a wildfire happens while in a role of responsibility and leadership.
A recent study done by NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division, found a majority of the middle and high school youth they talked with had not been given any instruction or information on what to do if a wildfire occurs while acting in the capacity of babysitter. This same group of teens said getting animals to safety in a wildfire is very important to them – but they weren’t sure how, or if that would be their responsibility. Ensure your babysitter knows what to do and who to call for help during a wildfire.
A myriad of resources are available to help develop and practice an emergency plan along with information on improving your home ignition zone; each of which has the potential to provide a few moments of extra time that could be needed to safely evacuate.
These sites can help get you started: