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Wildfires can force Oklahoma families to leave their homes, and those evacuation warning signs often come quickly. Like any solid insurance policy, planning is key to minimizing losses.

 

Here are a few ways families can prepare for a safe exodus:

  • Listen to local weather and emergency reports. Current technology makes it easy to stay informed of conditions and emergency alerts. Sign up to receive local weather alerts and warnings on your smartphone.
  • Locate the emergency kit. Make sure all the basic items are there, including nonperishable food and water, flashlights and extra batteries, and medical supplies for first aid. Add any missing items or items in short supply, then store it in the vehicle, said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Extension housing and consumer specialist.
  • Gather family pets in one area. Save critical minutes trying to round up animals before leaving.

 

In short, be ready to go. If ordered to evacuate, families should do so as soon as possible.

 

“Don’t wait until the last minute to leave,” Peek said. “Delaying may mean getting caught in heavy traffic and glowing embers and other debris may make it hard to see where you’re going.”

 

Time permitting, make sure the car has a full tank of gas. Then, back the vehicle into the garage or park it in an open area facing the direction in which you plan to travel.

 

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