Devastating wildfires burning throughout California this month have made the importance of emergency preparedness front page news. While we are gathering with our families over the Thanksgiving holiday, let's take the time to make sure we are all prepared, in case an emergency strikes.
“The wildfires currently ravaging California are a stark reminder of why all should create or update their emergency plan.” said Emergency Preparedness Manager David Harrison. “Such devastating wildfires have occurred in Carlsbad. Being prepared and knowing what to do in these situations saves lives and property. The city has taken steps to be prepared, but we need residents, schools, businesses and other organizations to prepare as well. When planning for emergencies, we encourage you to consider the specialized needs of seniors, those with medical conditions and kids.”
The emergency preparedness page on the city’s website provides step by step tools to help residents and businesses plan for disasters. The page also includes links to additional resources from the county, state and federal government.
Want to get prepared? Here are some suggestions for getting started:
Do a home safety check, using the tips in our fire prevention guide. Clear the area around your home or business so it is less prone to burn during wildfire.
Don’t engage in any outdoor spark or flame producing activities during hot, high wind days or Santa Ana conditions.
Use caution when driving off-road vehicles or even driving on the road’s shoulder during dry, windy conditions. Stopping or parking in the brush can quickly start a fire. When towing a trailer, make sure your trailer hitch chains and cables don’t drag on the roadway producing sparks.
Be aware of trees, power lines and anything else that could cause harm or damage during strong winds.
Discourage and/or report unsafe equipment or fire use during Santa Ana conditions.
Avoid any activity that could lead to sparks near a wildland environment or open space, including:
Using leaf blowers
Setting a piece of hot gardening equipment in the brush
Using outdoor grinding or cutting tools
Make a Plan
Start by meeting with your family (kids, too!) or employees to discuss some important questions:
How will we get emergency alerts and warnings?
How will we get to safe locations during an emergency?
How will we get in touch if cell phone, internet or landline doesn’t work?
How will we let loved ones know we are safe?
How will we get to our meeting place after the emergency?
Remember, there is no one size fits all emergency preparedness kit. Take the time to identify your family or business’s unique challenges and needs. Make a list of your “important stuff” and be ready to gather it up in a moment’s notice.
In the event of an emergency, plan to be self-sufficient for 72 to 96 hours. Having a complete emergency supply kit on-hand will ensure you have what you need. A partial list of what should be included in your kit is below.
A three-day supply of non-perishable food and water, as well as a way to open it
An “important stuff” list, including contact information for family and service providers, such as insurance companies
A first aid kit that includes needed medications
One change of clothes/shoes per person
Flashlights with extra batteries
Review and update your supply kit periodically. A complete list of supplies to be kept can be found at www.readysandiego.org. Develop emergency kits for your home, office and vehicle.
Know What to Do and Where to Go
Depending on the emergency and your situation, you could be asked to evacuate to a safe location or “shelter in place,” meaning stay where you are. If you shelter in place, have your emergency kit available. If you are evacuated, head in a safe direction and listen for designated temporary evacuation points. Here are some evacuation tips:
Monitor local media and the city and county websites for evacuation instructions.
Sign up for Alert San Diego to receive information directly to your cell phone and email – and encourage your family members, friends and co-workers to do the same!
Follow recommended evacuation directions. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
Download the free regional mobile app, “sdemergency,” available at your app store, to receive notifications from the County of San Diego during an emergency.