Before a Fire Threatens
Assemble a “Go Bag”
At all times during fire season, prepare a Wildfire and Emergency “Go Bag”. Assemble a kit for each family member and pet, and keep the bag(s) in your vehicle or near your front door.
Put together your Emergency “Go Bag” long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate. Plan to be away from your home for an extended period of time. Each person should have a readily accessible Emergency “Go Bag”. Backpacks work great for storing these items (except food and water) and are quick to grab. Storing food and water in a tub or chest on wheels will make it easier to transport. Keep it light enough to be able to lift it into your car. Ensure you plan with COVID-19 in mind.
Emergency “Go Bag” should include:
- Face masks or coverings
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
- Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
- Prescription or special medications
- Change of clothing
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Don’t forget pet food and water!
Items to take if time allows:
- Easily carried valuables
- Family photos and other irreplaceable items
- Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
- Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.
For more information on emergency supplies, visit www.ready.gov.
Install Battery Backups
It’s very common for the power to go out before a fire strikes, since fire and winds can damage electrical infrastructure. You need to be prepared to communicate and escape, even without power. How will you receive warning at night if the power is out, and how will you open your garage door to evacuate if there is no power?
For garage doors, a battery backup should be installed. They typically cost less than $100, and can be installed by homeowners.
Check with your garage door opener manufacturer to see if they make a battery specific to your opener model, although universal models are available.
Monitor Daily Weather Conditions
Monitoring predicted fire weather can provide advanced warning and extra time to prepare before a fire strikes. During the North Bay Fires of 2017, the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning 72 hours before the fires began.
Most major wildfires that destroy homes and cause death and injuries have a common denominator: dry winds blowing from the east or northeast. These conditions are most common in the fall from September to October, but can happen any time of year and will always be associated with potentially catastrophic fires during the dry season.
Text your Zip code to 888777 to register for Nixle and receive Lake County Fire Weather information notices.
Resource credit: CAL FIRE and FIRESafe MARIN