Wildfire Awareness: What's Your Disaster Plan?

Now is the time to get ready for a disaster.

It's Wildfire Awareness Week in California and there are many things residents can do to prepare themselves in case another disaster hits San Diego.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday issued a proclamation declaring the awareness week, which included some numbers about how wildfires affect the state:

  • There are between 5,000 and 8,000 wildfires in California each year.
  • The state has 85 million acres of wildland.
  • Over the past five years, an annual average of 7,000 wildfires burned more than 900,000 acres of state timber and grasslands.
  • Post-fire costs can cost 10 to 50 times as much as suppression.
  • About 94 percent of state wildfires are human-caused and preventable.

So what can you do today?

Create a family emergency plan.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has created a website— readyforwildfire.org with tips about creating a plan for your family to make it out safely:

  • Contact information for someone who lives in a different city or state who can help coordinate communication among family members in the event of a disaster. Everyone in your family should know this information. Program the person's number in your cell phones as ICE (In Case of Emergency) which can help emergency personnel identify who to call if they find you.
  • Sign up for emergency alerts (Alert San Diego) by cell phone, VoIP phone and email. Also, stay up-to-date on Twitter @readysandiego.
  • Practice packing your vehicles with all of the important papers, clothes, memorabilia and pets that you would take in an emergency to make sure everything will fit. Make sure all of your important papers are kept in a fireproof container and that everyone knows where it is so it can be grabbed quickly in a rush.
  • If there is a potential threat, make sure your cars are fueled and position to drive straight out (no backing up) for a quick escape, says Fire Capt. from in Rancho Bernardo.

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