HELENA – The North Hills fire is 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.
American Red Cross has opened a shelter in Helena for evacuees and shared evacuation tips with MTN on Monday, July 29.
Susan Hawthorne, Red Cross Co-Chair of Disaster Action Team Member of Lewis and Clark County, stated, “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.”
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.
Important paperwork, like birth certificates, Social Security cards, and items like medications that are otherwise hard to replace, need to be taken with you.
Hawthorne continued, “A lot of times, people forget about medications that need to be refrigerated, so you need to make sure you take that…if you have extra pair of glasses, also need to make sure you pack tooth brush, tooth paste, any of the things you might say you wanna go on a trip with, just pack that stuff in a suit case and have it ready…”
The Red Cross is operating the shelter at the First Assembly of God Church on Dodge Avenue for those who have had to evacuate from the wildfire. The shelter will allow them to stay for as long as they need.
“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.
For more information on how and what to do during an evacuation, please visit: https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2019/how-to-stay-safe-if-a-wildfire-threatens.html
Reporting by Christine Sullivan for MTN News