Are You Ready? Have Things Set Up? Because You Will Never Know When it’s Time to Go.

By Christina Favuzzi   |   June 17, 2021
The Montecito Fire Department has “Ready! Set! Go!” guides

Those three little words… 

No. Not “I love you.”

We do love you but we’re talking about: Ready! Set! Go! 

They are three little words that can make a life-or-death difference if you choose to take them seriously, now.

What is a wildfire action plan and what does it mean for those of us in Montecito and across the South Coast? Preparing for wildfire starts with three basic yet critical steps: ready, set, go.

The “Ready” step starts with determining whether your home is ready. We’re talking about defensible space and hardening your home against the threat of wildfire.

With high fire season now well underway, your Montecito Fire Department hopes all homes in our community are prepared for the possibility of wildfires. Perhaps you participated in Montecito Fire’s Neighborhood  Chipping Program or had a fire- and ember-resistant ventilation system install in your home through our vent retrofit grant program.

If you have not taken steps yet to clear 100 feet of brush and vegetation away from your house or you are wondering how well your home might fair in the face of wildfire, please contact our Prevention Bureau to schedule a complimentary Defensible Space Survey by calling 805-969-7762. 

As we move into the hot, fire-prone summer months, our focus begins to shift from “Ready” to “Set.” 

This is where your personal wildfire action plan really comes into play. We encourage you to create this plan as a family and even discuss it with your neighbors, relatives, and close friends. In the event of an emergency, you will undoubtedly be in touch with those closest to you. 

The first step in creating your family’s disaster plan is to determine a meeting location. Think of somewhere outside of your immediate community but not too far away. It could be grandma’s house, your local library, or anywhere that feels like a logical and safe place for your family. 

Next, establish your family’s communications plan. Keep your cell phone fully charged. A portable charger power bank is a worthy investment to consider including in your emergency supply kit.

Memorizing phone numbers is a long-lost skill for some in this digital age, but in an emergency, it may be crucial that every member of your family has those numbers committed to memory. Make a quiz game out of it to ensure everyone in your family has each other’s phone numbers memorized.

Other important phone numbers should be compiled in an emergency contact list that is readily accessible to all members of your family. In addition to having a hard copy of your emergency contact list posted somewhere in your home and inside your emergency supply kit, consider saving a digital version of the list to your family members’ phones and devices.

If you are evacuating your home, leave a note with your contact information and a trusted out-of-area contact taped to the fridge or inside a front window. This step may allow authorities to be in touch with you to obtain important information about how best to protect your property as well as provide an update on the status of your home.

We mentioned your emergency supply kit. Does your family have one? If not, set a goal to put yours together over the coming weeks. You can start small and with a few things at a time. You probably have most of the necessary supplies at home already.

Your emergency supply kit should include essential items for your family members and pets. Cash, clothing, sturdy shoes, shelf-stable food, water, first aid supplies, and medications are some of the basics to include in your kit. Organize your important documents like insurance papers in a fashion that allows for quick transport, so you are not scrambling to find them as the fire approaches. 

The final step of your wildfire action plan is “Go.” By taking initiative to prepare your family to be “ready” and “set,” will make the process of evacuating in the “go” phase calmer and more effective in an otherwise stressful situation. 

If you feel you are in danger, please do not hesitate to evacuate even before authorities give your neighborhood specific direction to leave. In an intense wildfire, our law enforcement partners may not have time to knock on every door. 

If you are told to evacuate, go immediately. Leaving early enough will help to avoid being caught in fire, smoke, or road congestion. 

During your “ready” and “set” planning, you determined a safe meeting location. It is imperative that you practice multiple travel routes to get to your family’s safe meeting location in case one route is blocked by the fire or emergency vehicles.

One more vital step to take right now is to sign up for emergency alerts at readysbc.org.

Remember, during high fire danger days on the South Coast, monitor your local media for information on wildfires and be ready to implement your action plan.

Just as your Montecito firefighters train intensively and make countless preparations to be ready for wildfire, our community members need to do the same. If we prepare together now as a community, we will be able to react, respond, and face the impacts of wildfire with resilience.

Ensure your home is ready. Make sure that your emergency supply kit is set with all your family’s essentials. These steps will empower you to be prepared to go at a moment’s notice.

 

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