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Business Wildfire Evacuation Steps

Do you know what to do if a wildfire is approaching? When wildfire may threaten and time allows, follow these last-minute steps to help protect your business and increase your building’s chance of survival.

Business Wildfire Evacuation Steps

A checklist to prepare your business for evacuation and increase your building’s chance of survival.


  • Stay vigilant and monitor for wildfires
    • Ensure the FEMA App is set up to receive alerts from the National Weather Service.
    • Watch for community alerts in your area. Stay aware of the latest emergency evacuation updates including recommended routes.
    • Follow evacuation instructions by local authorities via official websites, social media accounts and local news outlets.

*Note: Defending a business against wildfire can be extremely dangerous and your safety should be a top priority.

  • Activate your wildfire preparedness plan. Keep employees informed of:
    • Wildfire conditions.
    • Your company’s response.
    • What actions employees should take, or be prepared to take, and when they should act.


  • Gated communities, garages and parking structures
    • Open all gates so occupants can leave when needed.
  • Double check your 5-foot noncombustible buffer
    • Bring in combustible items and inventory or storage—like door mats, pallets, outdoor seating furniture, outdoor equipment, signage and planters.
    • Remove fallen tree debris from your patios or ramps attached to your building and within 5 feet of your structure.
    • Remove any trash, cardboard boxes or other combustible items that may have been stored in this zone.
    • Secure fence gate(s) in an open position if you have a combustible fence that attaches to your building.
  • Remove debris from your roof and gutters
    • Clean debris from your roof, gutters, and downspouts.
  • Cover and clean vents
      • If you have metal wire mesh vent covers, remove any debris buildup.
      • If you do not have 1/8-inch metal wire mesh covering vents, temporarily cover all outdoor vents with a noncombustible material (such as duct tape or metal sheets) to block embers from entering. These temporary covers should be removed once the fire and ember threat passes.
  • Shut off gas supply
    • It is standard practice by emergency response to shut off the gas supply to your property to prevent feeding a fire. Doing so yourself further reduces risks to your building.
      • Turn the handwheel clockwise to close valves.
      • Move propane cylinders away from your building(s).
      • If you have a large stationary propane tank, turn it off and remove weeds and other combustible debris from at least 10 feet around it.
  • Consider the water supply
    • Do not leave landscape sprinklers on. It can negatively affect water pressure needed by firefighters. Instead, leave buckets of water around your building.


  • Move interior combustibles
    • Move combustible items like curtains, window coverings, inventory, boxes, and furniture away from windows, doors, and vents.
  • Ensure your property is easily seen
    • Leave exterior lights and business signage on to help firefighters see your building in smoky conditions if power has not been turned off to your area.
  • Close doors and windows
    • Close all interior and exterior doors and windows. Exterior doors and windows can become a pathway for fire to enter the building. Closing interior doors can help stop the spread of fire.
    • Close commercial sectional (garage), overhead, and roller doors.
  • Evacuate and stay safe
    • Follow instructions and evacuate immediately if authorities tell you to do so.
    • Evacuate your staff if you feel it is unsafe to stay. DO NOT wait to receive an emergency notification if you feel threatened by a fire.
    • Leave your property.

Critical Business Prep

These fundamental, critical steps serve as a starting point before progressing to the next set of actions. If you’re ready, proceed to Exterior Building Upgrades.

Exterior Building Upgrades

After addressing the critical building prep, this group of larger building improvements will give your structure additional levels of protection.

Wildfire-Resistant Landscape

When defensible space is thoughtfully created and well-maintained, it will increase the likelihood your building will survive a wildfire.

Business Evacuation Steps

When wildfire may threaten and time allows, follow these last-minute steps to protect your building.