“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Preparing for natural disasters is easier than you think. Here’s a straightforward step-by-step:
- SIGN UP FOR EMERGENCY ALERTS
Santa Barbara County residents should sign up for Aware & Prepare emergency alerts and updates. These alerts are sent out via text message, email, and cellular and landline calls. To register, go to readysbc.org and click the red “Register for Alerts” box. If you need help signing up, call (805) 681-5526 or email email@example.com.
- CREATE AN EVACUATION CHECKLIST
If you have to evacuate your home, it’s best to know ahead of time what to take with you, from important documents and cash to pet supplies and family photos. Make a prioritized checklist. Then, if you have to leave your home, start at the top of the list and work your way down until your vehicle is full or you have to leave.
- PUT TOGETHER A GO BAG
At the top of your evacuation checklist should be your go bag, also called an emergency supply kit. Every household member should have one. It’s a three-day supply of water, food, clothing, and other essentials, especially personal items such as prescription eyewear and medication.
Be sure to include copies of important documents:
- Personal documents include birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, medical records, insurance cards, prescriptions, wills, bank statements.
- Business documents include articles of incorporation, insurance policies, computer back-ups, tax-related documents.
- Proof of occupancy and homeowners documents include deed, property title, rental lease, utility bills, Electric, water, cable or phone bills
Also include a list of contacts outside the area: Phone numbers and email addresses of people you know outside of your area and also outside the state. Let them know you’d like to use them as emergency contacts. They may become important sources of information if your local communications are disrupted.
- HAVE A PLAN
You and each member of your household need to be on the same page. Make a plan. Make a backup plan. Where are you going to go if you have to evacuate your home? If separated, where are you going to meet? What’s your backup meeting spot? Get together with your household, think of different scenarios, and come up with a plan.
- CREATE A SHELTER-IN-PLACE KIT
After a major disaster, you may have to shelter in place. There will likely be delays in services, including the arrival of first responders to your neighborhood. Expect to be on your own for at least 72 hours, with a cache of water, food, clothing, and related supplies assembled and easy to access. If you have to evacuate, take your kit with you.
CREATE A DEFENSIBLE SPACE AND HARDEN YOUR HOME
Creating defensible space is essential to your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. This space is the buffer you create between your home and the plants and tress, or any wildland area that surround it. We consider proper defensible space an invitation for firefighters to defend your home in a wildfire. Without defensible space, firefighters can’t risk fighting the fire head-on on your property. Because of this, proper wildfire preparation not only reduces the likelihood that your house will catch on fire, it increases the chance that firefighters will post-up in your yard and make a stand to protect it.
Click here for the CALFire guide (PDF) to creating proper defensible space around your home. If you need help, contact your local fire department for assistance or contact us and we will help connect you to fire prevention services.