Communities across Plumas continue fire preparations

Gold Mountain holds evacuation drills

We are all familiar with drills. Depending on our age and where we grew up that experience might include fire drills, earthquake drills, active shooter drills … but for the most part, those drills are childhood memories from our school days. Recently residents of one local community, Gold Mountain, have been conducting their own evacuation drills and what they learned has been shared with our readers in an article written by reporter Linda Satchwell.

By now we are all familiar with the need to have a “go bag” ready with items that could sustain us for at least a few days should we need to evacuate due to a wildland fire. But these drills have put the residents through the process of physically putting those items in the car and leaving the area. Some residents learned that just getting the garage door up is a challenge when the power is out.

The adage “practice makes perfect” comes to mind, and while no evacuation scenario could be categorized as “perfect,” practicing can’t help but improve the outcome. It’s something that every resident could consider doing on their own, as part of their Neighborhood Watch, or as a greater community at large.

Linda Satchwell’s article also includes some tips about what should be done to the home you are leaving behind that will help it survive a fire and also help firefighters. It bears repeating here: Shut off gas tanks at the meter, turn off pilot lights, close all doors, vents, and windows, remove flammable window shades and curtains, and leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.

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Outside, if you have more time, shut off propane tanks, gather up flammable items (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats) and bring them inside. Move propane barbecue appliances away from the house. Connect garden hoses for use by firefighters. Fill buckets, children’s pools and garbage cans with water and place them around the outside of the house. All good tips that maybe we haven’t thought of before.

The past couple of years have taught us that a fire can strike without warning anywhere. If we are lucky there is time to prepare. If we aren’t, it means grabbing what you can and leaving immediately. It’s important to plan and prepare for both scenarios. Yes, it can be a daunting undertaking, but this is our new reality.