While much of Tigard is a suburban or urban environment, we do have areas that are heavily forested. These areas may be susceptible to wildfires, just like more remote forested areas in Washington County.
The Portland Metro area was heavily affected by wildfire smoke in the devastating fires of September 2020. This reminded us that we can be affected by wildfires directly or indirectly. Those with compromised breathing – asthma, COPD, etc. – may have been severely affected.
Recognize Warnings & Alerts
Be sure that you have several ways to receive alerts.
- Download the FEMA app to your smartphone. This will help you receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service.
- Also be sure to sign up for community alerts in Tigard: currently, Tigard uses the Code RED system. Find information about this at: www.tigard-or.gov/your-government/departments/public-works/emergency-management/code-red
- Another useful smartphone app is called Oregon Air. This application allows you to see current Air Quality Index information for many locations in Oregon. More info is available here: www.oregon.gov/deq/aq/Pages/aqi.aspx
What to Do Before a Fire
Make an Emergency Plan
- Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands what to do if you need to quickly evacuate.
- Don’t forget a plan for the office, kids’ daycare and anywhere you frequent.
- Review important documents (insurance policies and personal documents).
- Gather supplies to prepare your household for possible evacuation.
- Include N95 masks in your supply kits: these can help greatly in smoky conditions.
Strengthen Your Home
- Create a fire-resistant area surrounding your home.
- Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air. If needed, close and seal all windows and doors. Use a portable air cleaner to keep indoor pollution levels low if outside air is smoky.
- Prepare plastic sheeting to close off windows and doors in your safe room. Cut the plastic material ahead of time so that it fits just right. Store these plastic sheets and duct tape in that safe room so that they’ll be ready to use.
Staying Safe During a Fire
- Pay attention to emergency alerts.
- Evacuate immediately if authorities tell you to do so.
- Contact the Red Cross, or use the Red Cross app on your phone, to find shelter locations in an emergency.
- Use your N95 mask to protect yourself from smoke inhalation or seal a portion of your house from outside air.
Tigard CERT Inc. is a local non-profit organization allied with the City of Tigard that trains volunteers in basic emergency response and organizational skills following the Federal Emergency Management Agency model and guidelines for local Community Emergency Response Teams. For more information about Tigard CERT, please visit our website at tigardcert.wordpress.com.