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Wildfire season in the United States typically runs in the western states from May through September, but the threat of a wildfire exists wherever there are wildland or wilderness areas throughout the year. A comprehensive emergency plan communicated and tested with your personnel helps minimize loss to your business. FEMA, OSHA and NIOSH have published recommendations on building preparedness plans.



  • Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and consider automatic sprinkler systems, fire hoses and fire-resistant doors and walls.
  • Establish a process for alerting the fire department.
  • Develop and test an emergency plan with your employees, including evacuation procedures.
  • Create a "safety zone" around your building by removing combustible material.
  • Avoid open burning, especially close to structures or any flammable materials, including trees, brush, trash, or during the dry season.
  • Make sure you have copies of all important documents and photographs of all critical assets stored safely offsite in fire-resistant containers.



Escaping the Fire

  • Do not lock your facility. Firefighters may need to gain quick entry to fight the fire.
  • If you are trapped inside, stay away from outside walls.
  • If you are outside and cannot escape the area, find a depression with sparse fuel or a road, and lie face down. Cover yourself with anything that will shield you from the fire's heat.
  • If you or someone with you is burned, call 911; cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.


Returning to Your Facility

  • Check the roof for any fires or embers.
  • If you detect heat or smoke when entering, leave immediately.
  • Routinely check for smoke and sparks that may ignite for several hours after the fire.
  • If you have a safe or strong box, do not open it. These can hold intense heat for several hours, and if opened before the box has cooled, the contents could burst into flames.




  • Do not return to your facility until local authorities report that it is safe to do so.
  • When you do return, wear protective clothing and check with local officials about air quality before entering the area.
  • Document damage to your facility and photograph all damage and compare to photographs and documents taken before the fire.
  • Report damage to your insurance company.


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