Having a plan in place is important in many areas of life -- and no doubt Sonoma County residents know that having an emergency evacuation plan in place is simply a way of life in Northern California. Wildfire seasons over the last few years have been raging stronger than ever, creating larger fires, more unpredictable paths, and lasting longer into the year. Communities have felt the effects of climate change, drought, risky power lines, and often poor resource allotment and planning, turning each subsequent fire season into the “most severe we’ve ever had” again and again.
While some of the bigger issues causing California to suffer severe wildfires may not be easy to address, one issue can be handled in the comfort of home at any time -- fire evacuation planning. It is an unfortunate reality that many throughout the region have come to accept. Fires could be on the doorstep of any Northern California resident in just a matter of moments, which is why having an evacuation plan is a must.
Many, however, put off this essential task or take it too lightly. Even if you currently have an evacuation plan, it is important to regularly review it each fire season and update it as necessary. The stronger your plan, the safer your potential evacuation can be.
What Are the Essentials of Any Plan?
Any solid wildfire evacuation (or action) plan should start with a checklist. This can make it simpler and easier for each member of the household to be familiar with it.
Make sure your plan includes the following details:
Equipe your home with accessible fire extinguishers and each member is trained in how to use them
Set up multiple designated escape paths from your house, as well as out of the wildfire threat area (these should be based around your community’s emergency response plan and best routes for leaving, etc.)
A safe meeting area (outside of any fire threats) - this may have to be updated regularly based on the nature of the current wildfire situation
Select a point of contact that remains out of the area that all family / household members can connect and communicate with in case of separation
At least one pre-packed bag with essentials (consider our GO-KITS if you’d like something made especially for fire evacuations)
Organize a list of emergency contact numbers that are displayed near the phone or easily found withemergency supply kit
Ideally, keep an emergency supply kit in at least one (if not all) vehicles
Consider investing in a portable radio / scanner to stay updated on relevant fire news, including road closures that may impact evacuation paths
If time allows, prepare your home for after your evacuation (remove flammable window treatments, shut off gas / pilot lights, shut off AC unit, shut windows and doors but leave unlocked and lights on for firefighters, etc.)
If you own pets or large livestock, you should include additional planning for what can be done for them if time allows. Of course, every family or household will have unique details that need to be taken into consideration for their plan. This structure is a great jumping-off point to start customizing your own fire action and evacuation plan.
Utilizing Our Experience to Craft Strong Plans
The Sonoma County fire preparation experts at Firebrand Safety Systems care deeply about the safety of our community. That is why we utilize our firefighting experience to inform our home hardening and evacuation evaluations. Our goal is to ensure homeowners are prepared for any fire emergency, especially under the current wildfire conditions we have been experiencing. We offer fire preparation assessments, planning services, home hardening guidance, and emergency kits because we want our community to be as prepared as possible.
If you are interested in crafting a strong fire evacuation plan, our team is ready to help. We will thoroughly assess your property, including reviewing drone footage, taking a look at water sources, evaluating defensible space, and setting up plans and drills to ensure you are ready if a wildfire emergency strikes.
As fire safety experts in Napa and surrounding areas, we know that having a thorough wildfire evacuation plan in place can greatly help mitigate the risks involved in living in this region. Our goal is to make it easier to leave when you need to, through solid evacuation planning and emergency GO-KITS.
When it comes to a wildfire, every minute counts. Make sure you are ready today.