Are you Ready, Set, Go?
Catastrophic brush fires are occurring at an increasing rate not only in California but across the country. The many hillside communities within Los Angeles are under continuous threat of a devastating wildfire. As this risk increases, it is important to protect yourself and your family by planning, preparing, and staying aware.
The “Ready, Set, Go!” program is designed to walk you through the steps to take to ensure you are prepared in the case of an approaching wildfire.
Being “Ready” for wildfire starts with maintaining an adequate defensible space around your home. By following the City of Los Angeles brush clearance requirements, you are creating an area around your home that is free of vegetation. This is what is called ‘defensible space’ and it allows the fire department to place firefighters between your home and the approaching flames. Without this space, the fire will quickly spread through the brush/vegetation to your home and there is little that can be done to defend it.
In addition to brush clearance, you can ‘harden your home’ by using fire-resistant building materials. Flying embers from a wildfire can destroy homes up to a mile away.
You need to prepare yourself and your home for the possibility of evacuation BEFORE the need arrives. The four elements to getting “Set” include:
- Create a Wildfire Action Plan that includes evacuation planning for your home, family and pets.
- Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for each person in your household.
- Fill out a Family Communication Plan that includes important evacuation and contact information.
- Stay informed by following local media and LAFD alerts available at www.LAFD.org/alerts and on Twitter @LAFD. You can also receive notifications from the City of Los Angeles via Notify LA.
If there is an active wildfire in your area, you need to be prepared before it’s time to Go!
If time allows, you should review your Wildfire Action Plan and complete the Pre-Evacuation Preparation Steps. Load your emergency supply kit and your evacuation bags (including any pet kits) into your vehicle and park so it is facing the road for a quick exit.
It is not necessary to wait for the authorities to issue an evacuation order. If you feel threatened, then evacuate early. It is always the safest option.
When an evacuation order is issued, there is no time to waste. Ensure your bags and kit are in your vehicle, locate and load your pets, wear clothing that will protect you against heat and flying embers and GO!
Leaving your home when a wildfire is approaching is a difficult and emotional decision. Many people believe that by staying behind, you have a better chance of saving your home. However, wildfire history makes it clear that while the "stay and defend" concept may sound reasonable on paper, in reality, it is extremely dangerous.
People decide to stay BEFORE the fire front arrives. When the full force of the wildfire is upon them, many people change their minds (or panic) and decide to leave. By this time, it's too late. Many wildland fatalities around the world are the result of people scrambling to leave their homes when it's already too late.
It's up to you to be prepared in the event of a wildfire. We urge you to learn, adopt, and practice “Ready, Set, Go!”