How to prepare your family for a wildfire

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PHOENIX - The Red Cross gives advice on steps you need to take in wildfire prone areas.

Wildfires, like the one scorching the forests in eastern Arizona, move quickly. Often people get little warning, and when evacuation orders are issued, every second counts.

Nicole Underwood with the Arizona chapter of the Red Cross laid out series of items you can pack up in a backpack, long before the inferno ignites, to allow your family a head start.

"This is something that you are not going to want to think of, at the last minute, when you are told to evacuate. If you only have a few hours, people are normally thinking of pictures, large items, things like that," she said.

Compare this to packing for a camping trip. You want light and small items that are easy to transport.

Here’s what the Red Cross recommends you pack:
• Water—one gallon per person, per day (3¬day supply)
• Food—non¬perishable, easy¬to¬prepare items (3¬day supply)
• Flashlight
• Battery¬powered or hand¬crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Medications (7¬day supply) and medical items
• Multi¬purpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items
• Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
• Cell phone with chargers
• Family and emergency contact information
• Extra cash
• Emergency blanket
• Map(s) of the area
• Other essential items that could not be replaced if they were destroyed

Also grab a cheap thumb drive where you can store digital pictures you don’t want to lose in wildfire. You can also upload scanned copies of needed documents, like the deed to your house and car title.

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