wildfire

Consumer Resources for Wildfires: Go Bags, Insurance, Masks, and More

Preparing Now Can Make a Big Difference Ahead of Evacuations, Power Outages, and Smoky Conditions

California wildfire season peaks in October and November, but the threat of fire persists year-round. With that in mind, we've gathered these resources from our NBC Bay Area Responds reports to help you stay prepared.

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Prepare a 'Go Bag' Now

A filled "go bag" is essential to keeping your family ready for an emergency. it should contain items like a hand-crank-powered flashlight, spare clothes, paper maps, medications, and other items you might need. Click here to see everything you should pack in a go bag.

Record Home Inventory Photos and Video

If your home is destroyed, you'll need to prove to your property insurance provider what you lost. Use your phone camera to record a walk-through of your home and valuables, and take photos of important documents. Then, save everything to the cloud. Watch our video guide here to learn more.

Using a Generator? Consult the Manual

You may be tempted to buy or rent a generator to ride out power outages. If you do, carefully read the instruction manual -- all of it! -- and follow the manufacturer's guidelines. Failure to do so can result in serious injury or death. Click here to see what a Bay Area electrician told us.

No Power? Here's How to Keep Your Food Cold

Your refrigerator should be able to keep chilled food at a safe temperature for several hours if the door remains sealed shut. Freezers can keep food frozen even longer. Check out our guide to preparing your fridge for a blackout.

Make Sure Your Safe is Safe

During the 2017 North Bay Fires, we learned some homeowners' safes melted in the intense heat and flames. That led us to investigate how safes are rated for fire resistance. Click here to see what we learned.

To Block Out Smoke, Use a Respirator Mask Rated N95 or Higher

If you're sensitive to smoky air, or if you can't avoid being outdoors in areas downwind of wildfire, you may want to use a face mask. Ordinary dust masks won't do much good. The FDA recommends masks (also called respirators) rated N95 or higher. It's crucial you use the mask exactly as instructed by the manufacturer, or it won't work properly. Learn more here.

Price Gouging is Illegal -- But Only During Declared Emergencies

California law bans businesses from raising prices on certain items during an emergency, such as fuel, hotel rooms, and batteries. However, the law only applies during an emergency officially declared by local or state government. Click here to see our quick guide, and click here to report price gouging to the California Attorney General.

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