If you live in California, you know that wildfires are becoming as common and dangerous as disasters seen around the world – including but not limited to hurricanes and tornadoes.
This year, California is burning. There is no “fire season.” The dangers are present every day, 365 days a year. That means it’s more important than ever before to be prepared.
Our partner, the Lake County Fire Protection District has been suffering through a year of one wildfire after another. More than 1,200 homes have been destroyed since the fall of 2015. This fall, MySafe:California, working in partnership with LCFPD will be teaching wildfire safety to all Lake County 4th and 5th grade students. We’ll be installing smoke alarms in Lake County homes, and generally working to help the community recover — and to be ready for the next wildfire. We call that Ready, Set, Go.
In Riverside County, wildfires have surrounded the county during the past few months. We’ve worked with Riverside County fire departments to tell the Ready, Set, Go story in a meaningful way.
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There is no more unpredictable and dangerous fire than a wind-driven wildfire. As winds change intensity and direction, a wildfire can go from what appears to be a contained, small burn in a backyard to a raging inferno acres in size. And it can happen in minutes. Wildfires can burn so hot and grow so large, that they actually create their own weather.
Don’t let a wildfire ruin your day. Spend the time to learn about our Ready, Set, Go awareness message, and be prepared to survive even the most dangerous wildfire.
This is not something you can fight with your garden hose!
You need to know:
Discuss these steps with your family and survive the next wildfire.
– Learn to be ready 24/7
You and your family should consider taking personal responsibility for your safety. That means being prepared long in advance of any threat from a wildfire, so your home is hardened, and your family knows what specific actions to take in the event of a fire. If you live in the wild land urban interface (WUI), then you likely have brush growing near your home. Create defensible space by clearing brush near your home (follow local fire codes). Use fire-resistant landscaping and ensure your home is built (or remodeled) with fire-safe construction products and measures. Make certain you have a family escape plan – and learn to practice it. That also means planning escape routes and where you plan to go. Finally, have emergency supplies on hand, and know how and when to utilize them. Doing these things will make you and your family READY.
– Have appropriate “Situational Awareness”
In the event a wildfire breaks out within ten miles of your home, pay close attention to news from local television and radio. In today’s social media-driven environment, your local fire department will also be sharing information, typically via Twitter or Facebook. Use any wildfire near your home as an opportunity to practice preparing to evacuate. If you don’t need to, you’ll have completed a useful drill. If the fire becomes a threat, you and your family will be ready to go – you’ll be SET.
– Don’t wait; evacuate early.
If you’ve done your READY, and SET steps properly, the GO part is easy. Most importantly, you don’t need to wait until local police or firefighters tell you to evacuate. If you feel it’s best to leave, then do so. Nobody wants to leave their home behind – but being away from your home doesn’t mean you’re going to lose it. In fact, by leaving you may be helping firefighters to save it. Whenever people are in danger, they become a priority over property. If residents would heed the notifications to GO and evacuate, firefighters would then be able to focus more of their resources on structure protection. Therefore, following your wildfire action plan and when firefighters or police tell you to evacuate, listen to them and GO!
Don’t let a wildfire ruin your day.
A number of fire agencies throughout the State are engaged in the overall Ready, Set, Go! program. These agencies include but are not limited to Cal Fire, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Orange County Fire Authority, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, San Bernardino County Fire Department, Riverside County Fire Department, Riverside City Fire Department, San Diego Fire Department, and the California Department of Forestry. The materials developed and made available by MySafe:California have been produced with California in mind – these localized and critical messages are useful throughout the Golden Bear State.
We offer Ready, Set, Go seminars to neighborhood associations and homeowners’ groups. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.