Find out what kinds of disasters, both natural and man-made, are most likely to occur in your area and how you
will be notified. Methods of getting your attention vary from community to community.
One common method is to broadcast via emergency radio and TV broadcasts. You might hear a special siren, or get
a telephone call, or emergency workers may go door-to-door.
What to do During a Wildfire
Survival in a Vehicle
This is dangerous and should only be done in an emergency, but you can survive the firestorm if you stay
in your car. It is much less dangerous than trying to run from a fire on foot.
Roll up windows and close air vents. Drive slowly with headlights on. Watch for other vehicles and
pedestrians. Do not drive through heavy smoke.
If you have to stop, park away from the heaviest trees and brush. Turn headlights on and ignition off. Roll
up windows and close air vents.
Get on the floor and cover up with a blanket or coat.
Stay in the vehicle until the main fire passes.
Stay in the car. Do not run! Engine may stall and not restart. Air currents may rock the car. Some smoke and
sparks may enter the vehicle. Temperature inside will increase. Metal gas tanks and containers rarely explode.
If You Are Trapped at Home
Stay calm. As the fire front approaches, go inside the house. You can survive inside. The fire will pass before
your house burns down.
If Caught in the Open
The best temporary shelter is in a sparse fuel area. On a steep mountainside, the back side is safer. Avoid
canyons, natural "chimneys" and saddles.
If a road is nearby, lie face down along the road cut or in the ditch on the uphill side. Cover yourself with
anything that will shield you from the fire's heat.
If hiking in the back country, seek a depression with sparse fuel. Clear fuel away from the area while the
fire is approaching and then lie face down in the depression and cover yourself. Stay down until after the fire passes!
ReadyWisconsin is an initiative of Wisconsin Emergency Management designed to educate and empower Wisconsinites to prepare for
and respond to all kinds of emergencies including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.
Wisconsin Emergency Management
2400 Wright St.
Madison, WI 53704
Phone: 608.242.3000 Fax: 608.242.3247