“Wildfire season is clearly upon us, as many have witnessed watching news footage from the Robbers Fire in Placer County. In a matter of minutes lives are turned upside down when evacuation orders are given by the local law enforcement agency. Those who are prepared do well but those who have not prepared have a far more difficult time. As emergency responders we tell people to be prepared to be evacuated in the event of a wildfire. This is a fact of life living in the foothills and anyone who hasn’t prepared themselves and their family’s needs to do so right away,” said Unit Chief Kelly Keenan of the Amador-El Dorado Unit of Cal Fire.
Chief Keenan added, “In the fire service, we prepare for the worst case. We train constantly and when the call comes we respond immediately but we can’t be everywhere all the time. If a wildfire is approaching it is best to leave early ahead of a formal evacuation called by local law enforcement. Waiting until the last minute can cost you your life as roads may be crowded or blocked by vehicles and/or with fire. Take charge and leave well ahead of the fire front.”
Key components of a Wildfire Action Plan are:
• Have a pre-determined meeting place outside of the disaster area.
• Have multiple escape routes from your home that you are familiar driving during both the day and night.
• Have an evacuation plan and emergency supply kits for yourself and your animals.
• Maintain an out-of-the area point of contact for your families for your communications plan.
• Be prepared, more than anything make sure your plans are in place now and don’t forget to update information and practice, practice, practice.
“Depending on the type of disaster (wildfire, floods/mudslides, snow storm, hazardous materials incident, etc.) and time of year, your needs will change,” Keenan said. “If you have an infant or elderly family member or disabled individual that resides with you, can you evacuate them quickly and safely? Can their specific needs be met at an evacuation center? Remember disaster preparedness begins and ends with you.”
You can find more information on Cal Fire’s Ready-Set-Go program at readyforwildfire.org, FEMA at ready.gov, and the Humane Society at humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/disaster_preparedness_pets. If you would like to receive information by mail, please call 530-644-2345.