Years ago, I participated in an “emergency and fire preparedness” task force with the Carlsbad, California Fire Department, the City of Carlsbad, and the Chamber of Commerce. We have been working on a platform to better educate our community on such preparation.
Unlike New Mexico’s fire season, California’s can last year-round. For me, this threat hit very close to home.
I lived three miles from the beach, but my neighborhood was on high alert for a fire invasion. My house was on the berm of a canyon, which obviously provides the perfect passage for a fire. That is, depending on the direction in which the wind is blowing.
The fire broke out in the west with a strong outflow wind. He snuck in less than a mile from my house.
The canyon filled with smoke. The police saturated our community, making evacuation announcements.
We were ready. Car full of cats in crates, their food and medicine, water, valuables and clothes, and my important documents.
Not everything was stored on the computer. Oh, of course, my computer!
The wind suddenly turned.
Fast forward to today. First, kudos to the Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue Department for the document on their website, a “Home Fire Evacuation Plan”. It includes tips such as: Draw a map of your home; find two exits; make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms.
That said, I suggest the website needs an updated emergency preparedness plan. There is a web page called “Personal Preparation”. It needs a more direct title like “Prepare for an Emergency”.
The page offers suggestions in paragraphs. Bullets with simple, easy to understand statements would be more effective. The message should be succinct.
The Carlsbad Fire Department is a good example: carlsbadca.gov/departments/fire.
The differences between a fire evacuation plan and an emergency preparedness plan are that the latter addresses all kinds of emergencies and proposes measures to protect you and your family by case of threat. The latter helps you plan in advance what you will need immediately and in the near future.
It’s like planning a long trip. You include clothing, medication, emergency contact on your phone, and your itinerary.
Then you add important documents such as insurance papers and banking information, money, computers, blankets, pet food, non-perishable food and water, and batteries rescue. Make a reservation at a pet-friendly hotel before evacuation.
This is the start of your emergency preparedness kit.
This plan does not work in silos. Include your family. Consider their needs, including pets and farm animals.
Let’s be more prepared. Let’s share this information in our communities and plan to escape the wrath of fire emergencies.
Sue A. Prelozni