Wildfire Resource Center

Be prepared.
Know how to respond.

In recent years, wildfires have become one of North America's most frequent natural disasters. Use the following resources to prepare for wildfire events in your area and get back on your feet as quickly and safely as possible.

Preparing for Wildfires

Recent research by climate scientists suggests that climate warming patterns are likely to change precipitation patterns, shifting North America’s wildfire season from dry fall to even drier winter, with longer, more intense fires later in the year. More volatile, unpredictable wildfires are forcing security and business continuity managers in fire-prone regions to reconsider their continuity plans.

Planning for the Worst

Supporting Your Staff in the Wake of Wildfires

In addition to continuity planning for businesses and structures, it's important to reflect on the personnel challenges presented by wildfires. These can involve health issues, such as worsening asthma from smoke inhalation, or the emotional challenges induced by loss of workplace, home, or life. When communicating with employees in the wake of natural disaster, keep their emotional state in mind and consider the following areas of concern:  

  • Salary. If possible and appropriate, provide cash advances and salary continuation. Your business interruption policy should cover this cost. 
  • Stress. Providing access to counseling services is highly recommended. Taking the time to check in one-on-one with employees can also go a long way. 
  • Flexibility. If damage from the disaster is widespread, employees’ homes may be affected as well. Be mindful of the fact that they might have their own repairs to tend to, and offer flexible hours, if possible.

Wildfire Re-Entry Protocols

Wildfire risks extend well beyond the blaze itself. High pH levels, bad air quality, residual ash, and ammonia from fire retardant are abundant in post-wildfire areas, and they can cause major skin, eye and respiratory irritation as well as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when ingested. All of these risks must be considered before attempting to return to a home or business in an area damaged by wildfires. 

Re-Entry Do's and Don'ts

Continuity Planning for Wildfires

There are three essential aspects to business continuity planning: access to assets, people, and a place to work. Wildfires often disrupt at least one of those three. Because veterinary practices cannot facilitate working from home, practices have to come up with multiple contingency plans to reflect a wide variety of potential disruptions.  Backup suppliers are likely just as affected by the fires as their clients, so hospitals should think about leveraging suppliers and partners in different states or regions.

Protecting Patients during Wildfires

Time to prepare for an impending disaster is a luxury. Unanticipated natural disasters — such as a wildfire that spreads rapidly and unexpectedly due to wind conditions — highlight the importance of creating ready-to-go emergency plans for your staff and the animals in your care. Three key elements are identifying alternate treatment locations, prioritizing staff over patients, and providing your patients with their best chance at survival.

Learn More

Protect What Matters Most

Make sure you have the right insurance coverages and a crisis response plan in place.

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