By Sue McCourt
Fire Prevention Specialist, Plumas County Office of Emergency Services
Take time now to review your Personal Emergency Preparedness Plan. With current evacuations in place and advisories take the time now to check in with family members, keep connected and have a plan. We all must be ready for a wildfire in any area in the county. Please keep situational awareness and practice extreme fire safety. Our firefighters, law enforcement and first responders are stretched to capacity on fires exhibiting extreme fire behavior. Below is a link to Plumas County Firesafe Council’s “Living with Fire” magazine with information and checklists for fire preparedness. This publication is available throughout the county at various locations including grocery stores and Post Offices.
A reminder for us all:
- Sign up your cell phone with Plumas County’s reverse 911system “Code Red”. You must self-register to get emergency alerts. Landlines are automatically in the system, but many of us may not be home to receive a call. Sign up is easy and free. It may save your life in the event of an evacuation notification. Register through the Plumas County Sheriff’s office atplumascounty.us
- Get a back up battery charger pack for your cell phone and make sure it has a full charge. If the power goes out or you are away from a charging source, this is a valuable thing to have to keep in communication with everyone.
- Have an out of town contactfor your family to call. If you get separated from family and loved ones in an emergency you can let them know you are safe. Don’t forget texts can get through easier than a phone call when many people are trying to call at once in an emergency.
- Know 2 routes out of your neighborhoodin the event of evacuation. Drive them to see if they are still good and make them known to your entire family.
- If you had to evacuate, where would you go?During an evacuation, the Plumas County Sheriff is responsible for the decision to initiate different levels of evacuations depending on the emergency. In the event of a wildfire your route is dependent on which direction the fire is coming from. Shelters will be set up, however, many folks end up staying with friends or family. Now is a great time to think about who you could stay with, hotels (do you have a pet? do they take pets?) or where you would meet your family in different directions on either side of your community. Have that plan in place and be sure everyone in the family knows about it.
- Have a “Go Bag’ ready.Each person should have a bag packed with essential items, kept ready for use in the event of an emergency evacuation of one’s home. Sample lists are available on the Plumas Firesafe Council’s webpage under Fire and Emergency Preparedness tab. www.plumasfiresafe.org.
- What about your pets?Be sure you are in contact with someone that knows your pets are at home in case something happens when you are gone.
- Videotape your house contents.Part of your emergency plan should include an inventory of your home contents in case something happens. Cell phone cameras are great- take a few hours and film every room slowly opening every drawer. Don’t forget to film the garage, sheds etc. In the event of a fire everything could need to be itemized- you’ll never remember it all! If you have the time, photos and copies of all your high value item receipts are the best, but a video that is stored away from home or in the cloud is a pretty quick easy bet.
For more information on creating your wildfire action plan go to www.readyforwildfire.org
Plumas County local fire and emergency preparedness: www.plumasfiresafe.org