(ABC4) – There have been multiple wildfires in Utah this week and some of those required evacuations.
“It’s been an eye-opener, I think, for most people that it can happen super quick — just another Friday afternoon, Saturday afternoon and things can change instantly,” said Kayli Yardley, the Prevention and Communications Coordinator at the Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands.
In the case of an emergency, you might not have a lot of time before you have to leave your home, which is why it’s important to already have a plan in place.
“Creating those 72-hour buckets, those are just buckets you can grab them and go,” says Yardley.
Those kits should include essentials like non-perishable foods, medications, water, first-aid, change of clothes and cash.
Yardley says it’s also important to establish where you’ll meet with your family, be familiar with escape routes and know your community’s plan for responding to an emergency.
Establishing an emergency plan for your animals is critical, as well.
“You need to have plans for them just like you have for the rest of your family,” says Amanda Price, the assistant state veterinarian. “How are you going to get them out? Where are you going to take them? What are you going to feed them while you’re evacuated?”
Animals also need to have 72-hour kits, something to identify them in case they get lost and if you have larger animals like livestock, make a plan ahead of time on how you will transport them and where you’ll take them.
“Is your local fairgrounds going to be open and able to house animals, or do you have friends that you can take your animals to?” asks Price. “Do you have a livestock trailer you can take your animals in? All things you need to start thinking about now before the disaster strikes.”
Price says the Utah Community Animal Response Team website has helpful information on the best animal safety plans in case of an emergency.
“It’s volunteers that are trained and integrated with local emergency response trained to help with animals in disasters,” says Price. “They can do anything from evacuating animals, helping search and rescue or running shelters during a disaster.”
As we continue seeing high temperatures and dry conditions, Yardley wants to remind people to remember fire safety and prevention.
“It’s everybody’s responsibility, so hopefully we don’t have these evacuations and we don’t have these sorts of things,” says Yardley.