If you and your family had to evacuate now... would you be ready?
"We know it's gonna get hot, we know it's gonna get dry, we know the wind is gonna blow, and unfortunately in Southern California, it's gonna burn again."
- Chief Pat Dennen, San Bernardino FD
"Leaving early is the only rational life-saving alternative. The possibilities for error are too high. The stakes are too great. And the last thing that California needs is a repeat of Australia's tragedy."
-CPF President Lou Paulson
When you get up in the morning [during] conditions like that , that's when you decide if you stay or go. By the time the smoke is coming up the hill behind your house, it's too late."
-Daryl Wells, Fire Captain, Melbourne, Australia
...with preparation and timely evacuation, firefighters can focus their attention on saving your property, rather than being concerned with individuals who have perhaps waited too long to evacuate."
Chief P. Michael Freeman, LA Co. FD
READY, SET, GO!
A Wildfire Action Plan for People and Property
The official beginning of the California wildfire season was May 27th, 2009.
A week earlier, on a Sunday afternoon, the Outer Jamul FireSafe Council sponsored a presentation of Ready, Set, Go! at the Jamul Primary School Auditorium. Battalion Chief John Kremensky led the presentation to more than 60 attendees... many, perhaps most, from Deerhorn Valley.
"Ready, Set, Go! - Your Personal Wildfire Action Plan" is for residents in wildfire areas. It includes the latest best-practices for preparing homes and families for wildfire.
"Ready, Set, Go!" Chosen Over "Stay and Defend"
Fire fighting organizations throughout the United States chose "Ready, Set, Go!" over Australia's "Leave Early or Stay and Defend" program, after more than 200 people died in the 2008 Australian wildfires.
The idea behind a "Stay and Defend" strategy is that if you have carefully planned for wildfire (fire-hardened home, defensible space, etc.), implemented the plan before the fire starts, are well prepared physically/emotionally, and understand what will be required during the fire, then the risks associated with staying are greatly reduced. But after the loss of so many lives on Black Sunday, the policy is under serious reconsideration . Australian researchers found the vast majority of deaths occurred when residents raced onto smoke-obscured roads, often littered with downed trees, charred wildlife or emergency vehicles. In some hard-hit communities residents organized convoys of vehicles that fled one fire– only to be consumed by another. Vehicles failed to operate in the oxygen-depleted air. Super-heated gases preceded the flames and took lives within seconds.
San Diego County fire officials and those throughout the U.S. recommend that people leave well ahead of a wildfire. Only then can they focus attention on saving property, rather than individuals who have waited too long to evacuate.
We are now in the midst of an economy where there will be more fires than firefighting capabilities. Residents must step in and take more responsibility for protecting lives and property. "Ready, Set, Go!" is a large part of that remedy. Firefighters can
Fire-harden and prepare your home and surrounding defensible space for firefighters: fire-resistant roof, dual glazed glass, ember-resistant vents, nothing flammable under decks or eaves
Have a checklist. Know where it is. There are good ones in the links below. Have all the items on your checklists (provided in the action plan pamphlet) crossed off so that you are prepared for a safe evacuation. Practice with your family.
Leave early. Have alternate routes. Drive them before a wildfire comes. Don't wait to make the decision later.
Ready, Set, Go Personal Action Plan Pamphlet (12 pages) :
Wildfire: Are You Prepared? - FEMA Publication (9 pages)