HELENA – The North Hills fire burning in Helena is serving as a reminder that people who live in areas where wildfires are possible need to take initiative to be ready, in case an emergency evacuation is ordered.
The American Red Cross has opened a shelter in Helena for evacuees and shared some evacuation tips with MTN News.
“We have the three points we like to talk about is: Be informed, be prepared and be equipped. So, being informed, of course, is listening to the radio or social media. Be equipped is to make sure you have that equipment that’s ready to go in that quick notice,” said Susan Hawthorne with the Red Cross.
When evacuating, it is best to leave your emergency kit in your vehicle, and cover up to protect yourself from heat, smoke and flying embers. Additionally, important paperwork, like birth certificates, Social Security cards, and items like medications that are otherwise hard to replace, need to be taken with you.
“A lot of times, people forget about medications that need to be refrigerated, so you need to make sure you take that,” Hawthorne told MTN News. “[You] also need to make sure you pack [a] toothbrush, toothpaste — any of the things you might say you wanna go on a trip with. Just pack that stuff in a suitcase and have it ready.”
“A lot of people usually have a little bit of time, once they hear the evacuation warning–is to get that stuff and move it into a vehicle before they leave because once the evacuation order is in place, you cannot go back…the Sheriff will not let you go back into the area,” said Hawthorne.
Click here for more information on how and what to do during an evacuation.
-Christine Sullivan reporting for MTN News