A wildfire is an unplanned fire that can happen anywhere, at any time. The risk increases during periods of little rain and high winds. Child care providers must prepare in advance so they have the supplies and plans necessary to keep the children in their care safe in the event of a wildfire.
Preparing for Wildfires
Child care providers can take steps to be prepared for wildfires.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system.
- Know your community’s evacuation plans and find several ways to leave the area. Drive the evacuation routes and find shelter locations.
- Gather an emergency supply kit (link “emergency supply kit” to the page with that name), including N95 respirator masks that filter out particles in the air you breathe. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including an updated asthma plan and medication.
- Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air. Close all doors and windows.
- Keep important documents in a fireproof, safe place. Create password-protected digital copies.
- Use fire-resistant materials to build, renovate, or make repairs.
- Find an outside water source with a hose that can reach any area of your property.
- Create a fire-resistant zone that is free of leaves, debris, or flammable materials for at least 30 feet from your home or facility.
- Review insurance coverage to make sure it is enough to replace your property.
- Pay attention to air quality alerts.
For more specific information about these steps, visit the Ready.gov resource, Wildfires.
Children are more susceptible to poor air quality than adults. Use the Air Quality Index to understand when to take action.
- Protecting Children from Wildfire Smoke and Ash (Airnow.gov)
- Which Populations Experience Greater Risks of Adverse Health Effects Resulting from Wildfire Smoke Exposure? (EPA)
- Wildfires (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Wildfire Resources (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
- Wildfire (National Fire Protection Association)
- Wildfires (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Coping with Trauma and Stress in the Face of Wildfires (ZERO TO THREE)
- Wildfires: Information for Parents (healthychildren.org)
- Wildfire Smoke and Children (CDC)