What a horrendous week Americans just experienced with wildfires! And unfortunately for many people, it’s not over yet.
Seven people were killed across multiple states last week in the central United States by wildfires that also charred more than 1 million acres of land.
On Saturday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared six Panhandle counties as disaster areas after fires burned an estimated 750 square miles in the state.
Residents of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas were hit hardest by these devastating prairie fires, with strong winds and dry air contributing to the spread. Tens of thousands were forced to evacuate. In addition, tornadoes destroyed property and resulted in numerous power outages.
Nearly 13,000 homeowners were evacuated in Kansas, where 500,000 acres were burned in what was the state’s largest fire on record. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management urged residents through a Facebook post to quit returning to their homes to get belongings. The wind can change in an instant and wildfires can make quick and unexpected changes. In addition to their safety, their return visits also put the Firefighters efforts under strain, because helicopters must stop doing water drops in the area if they spot any people below.
Kansas Woman and Son Forced to Evacuate.
Among those forced to evacuate were Shelley Wilson and her disabled son. Fortunately they made it to a shelter before flames completely encircled their farm outside Hutchinson, Kansas.
A tractor-trailer driver named Corey Holt of Oklahoma City was not so fortunate. Reduced visibility caused his rig to jackknife near the Kansas/Oklahoma border. He perished from smoke inhalation after climbing out of his vehicle.
One Oklahoma woman even died from a heart attack while helping her husband try to save their farm. Four people were killed in a fire in the Texas panhandle, including three ranch hands.
Another wildfire in Colorado covered 50 square miles, destroying a number of buildings.
Wildfires also caused major problems in Florida last week, with highways being closed due to reduced visibility and many homeowners being evacuated.
“All the sudden we started seeing the black smoke coming up and that’s when the sheriff’s department came in and told us to take whatever we had and get out of there,” said one Naples, Florida resident.
It Could Happen to You – Be Prepared.
Have you ever discussed with your family what you would do if a major weather event caused you to leave your home as tens of thousands were forced to do last week?
If not, now is the time to sit down and create a plan. One of your preparations should be the filling of a bug-out bag for each family member. Among the items some or all of the bags should contain are:
Water bottle and a portable water filtration device that works via gravity
Non-perishable food including granola bars, trail mix and freeze-dried survival food
Shelter, such as a folding tent, plus a survival blanket
Clothing suitable for the outdoors, including boots, jackets, gloves, etc.
First-aid kit, including medicines, vitamins, sun block and bug repellent
Survival knife and possibly another weapon if you own one
Cooking items including a small pot, pan, plate, cup and utensils
Crank-operated radio so you can stay informed about the situation that caused the evacuation
Small tool kit, including a hammer, nails, screwdriver and wrench
File folder, including maps of the area, travel information, identification, addresses of hotels and emergency centers, evacuation routes, and cellphone numbers of family and friends.
And if you and your family are ever faced with the situation of having to evacuate quickly, the last thing you want to worry about is being stranded on the side of road because of a dead battery.
Our Patriot Power Hub is the perfect way to ensure that never happens to you – not only does it charge a dead battery without the help of another car, but it also contains 4 additional lifesaving features.
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