Make a Plan, Assemble a Kit, Stay Informed!

Here is some great advice from Aaron Kenneston,Washoe County Emergency Manager :

When a wildland fire occurs, will you be ready?  Preparedness begins by making a plan for your home and business. Consider the local hazards and what you can do to reduce them. For wildland fires your plan must include defensible space, and how to evacuate if authorities ask you to leave the area. Evacuation plans should include primary and alternate (if available) routes to safety, as well as how to contact friends and loved ones. Establish a rally point at a known location and know each others’ telephone numbers in case your cell phone contacts are not working. Sometimes having a person out-of-town that everyone can call to relay information works best when local telephone switches become jammed.

When assembling a “Go Kit” remember to include special needs and pets. Ideally, you should have three days of food, water and medicines. One gallon per person per day is the general rule for water needs. Pets usually require the same amount. Have a copy of any prescriptions, along with a good flashlight, AM radio, gloves, first aid kit and simple comfort items.  Pet carriers and pet food in plastic containers allow for quick evacuation when necessary. Keeping your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full is always a good idea.  Many residents keep a kit in their homes, a small kit in their car and one at their work- just in case. It is always smart to include copies of important documents in your kit, and a small amount of cash in case ATMs are not working.

There are many ways to stay informed. Battery operated Weather radios and portable AM radios are the most basic. You may prefer Internet devices, television or even social media. Use what you are comfortable with, yet have a back-up. When an emergency occurs, you need to be able to hear the announcements of public safety officials. By staying informed, you can have advance notice of danger, and know when it is appropriate to evacuate or shelter in place. When you are told to leave the area, you may need to move quickly!

Public safety officials urge you to practice so that you can act quickly and safely during an emergency.  Practice builds confidence as well as reduces fear and chaos. You may want to practice your plan with friends and neighbors. Talking about emergency plans can help you to discover new ideas and can assist your entire neighborhood to become more prepared. Your co-workers may have suggestions for items that you are overlooking in your “Go Kit.” Also, when your circle of friends all monitor the news it can help ensure that everyone is better informed. Remember that the first response to an emergency is often neighbor helping neighbor. So, being prepared means making a plan, assembling a kit and staying informed.   Be Ready!

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