YAKIMA, WA - With so many wildfires happening in Washington, you may know someone who had to evacuate their home.
That's why it's important to have an evacuation plan in place before the fire is at your back door, said the Yakima Valley Emergency Management operations manager, Horace Ward.
"Losing houses is a tragedy, but losing people would be far more of a tragedy," said Ward.
There are three levels of evacuation alerts:
Level 1 is letting people know something is going on in their area.
Level 2 is telling people to get ready to leave their home.
Level 3 is alerting people they need to leave their homes right away.
People in Yakima County can get these alerts straight to their phone by signing up for 'Alert Yakima.' Ward said they can alert people by their specific location.
"It can definitely be hard to leave behind your house," said Ward, "Just know that we've got some amazing firefighters here in the county and they do an amazing job of protecting your home."
Along with a three-day supply of food and water, parents should bring or pack duplicates of their child's comfort items like a stuffed animal or blanket.
"Whatever that thing is they sleep with at night that makes them a little bit more comfortable," said Ward.
Shelters are in place for those who need to leave their home. If possible, people should stay with friends or family close by said Ward.
Pets are welcomed at shelters, just make sure to bring plenty of food and water for them too said Ward.
Before leaving your home, if you have time, tape a note to your front door saying you safely evacuated so first responders can quickly get others out said Ward.
More information on evacuations can be found online.