SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Wildfires. Heat stroke. Identity theft. 

Any one of these could cause big problems for individuals and families. But, there are simple steps that can be taken to prevent and minimize disaster before it strikes. Whether it's protecting your personal information online or keeping burglars from invading your home, our experts have you covered.

Here's ABC10's safety guide:

Wildfire Safety

It's wildfire season and that means you need to be prepared. Experts said the key is not only to get flammable vegetation away from your home, but also make sure trees are not too close together and your lawn is well manicured.

Does having defensible space in your home work against wildfires?

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Heat Safety

Believe it or not, heat waves cause more deaths annually in the United States than any other weather event combined, even tornadoes and hurricanes. However, these deaths can be prevented. Here's how you can prepare and stay safe if a heat wave does approach your area.

  • Postpone going outside during the hottest time of the day, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. in Northern California. 
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated beverages, which can cause dehydration.
  • Wear loose fitting and light-colored clothing, which repel sunlight.
  • Eat small meals to fuel you throughout the day.
Believe it or not, heat waves cause more deaths annually in the United States than any other weather event combined, even tornadoes and hurricanes. However, these deaths can be prevented. Here's how you can prepare and stay safe if a heat wave does approach your area.

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Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are more likely to occur in the spring and summer, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). These storms can cause strong winds, flash flooding, tornadoes and lightning.  

Keeping track of severe weather alerts can help you weather the storm. Remember, a severe thunderstorm watch means conditions are favorable for a thunderstorm. A severe thunderstorm warning means a storm spotter has reported a thunderstorm or radars show that a thunderstorm is underway or coming. It also means that the storm will produce dangerous conditions.

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Water Safety

In the summer, trips to the nearest rivers, beaches and pools are common. Summertime also means an increased risk of water accidents, especially for children.

An estimated 1,000 children drown in a single year in the U.S., most of them between May and August, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Here's a few ways to keep your children from drowning.

  • Make sure an adult is always watching children while they play in water.
  • Install pool barriers that include a fence that's at least four feet tall and locks.
  • Sign your kids up for swimming lessons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years old. Sacramento, Modesto and Stockton all offer free swim lessons.

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Home Burglary

Do you know your neighbors? If not, you could be missing out on free and easy home burglary protection. Modesto Police Department Spokesperson Officer Sharon Bear explains how strong neighborhoods can provide extra eyes and ears for local police.

“Our jobs as officers is to protect property and the people in the community, and, if we can’t have somebody sitting on their street at all times… they’re helping us and that helps them,” said Bear. “They provide us the tools and the information that we need to investigate the case and locate the person responsible for whatever crime is being reported.” 

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Car Break-ins

The California Highway Patrol say car thefts rise in the winter, but these tips for keeping yourself and your belongings safe are good year round. 

  • Never leave your keys inside a running and unattended car, even if it's just for a minute. 
  • Always lock your car.
  • Keep vehicles parked in a well-lit area so that potential thieves don't have the cover of darkness.

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Identity Theft

We spend so much time online, it may be surprising to find out how vulnerable we are to cyber crimes. In California, nearly 50,000 victims lost over $450 million to cyber crimes, according to a report by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. Check out these tips to prevent identity theft.

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