Fires in Northern California are clear evidence that fire season has arrived and will likely be with us for months to come. Fortunately, most of this region has been spared a major disaster so far, but our luck may not hold.
We need to be prepared, to have a plan for fires or any disaster likely to strike our region, including earthquakes. Creating a family disaster plan that includes where to meet, how to keep in touch, what to do with pets and livestock, as well as gathering supplies including food, water and medication, must all be planned in advance. Once disaster strikes it’s too late.
To help prepare a disaster-response plan for your family, please visit the websites below for more information:
• California Office of Emergency Services (OES): www.caloes.ca.gov/
• Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.fema.gov/
• Cal Fire: www.fire.ca.gov
• San Diego County OES: www.sandiegocounty.gov/oes/
• Riverside County OES: www.rvcfire.org/ourDepartment/OES/ Pages/default.aspx
Though government agencies prepare for emergencies, major disasters can overwhelm emergency services. Once a disaster hits, we may be on our own for many days. For these reasons, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program has been established to assist first responders and to provide training and emergency assistance in areas impacted by natural or man-made disasters. To learn more about local CERT programs, please visit:
• San Diego County: www.sandiegocounty.gov/oes/community/oes_ jl_ CERT.html
• Riverside County: rivcocert.webs.com/
California’s recent fires should serve as a wakeup call for all of us. Now is the time to plan and prepare. The safety of our loved ones may depend on actions we take today.