Sacramento, CA… It may only be January, but with a prolonged dry spell and warmer conditions than normal, it’s already beginning to look a lot like fire season. On Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for parts of the Sierra Nevadas due to high winds and low relative humidity. The Red Flag Warnings are expected to remain in effect until Friday morning.
The elevated wildfire risks is leading to an early call for preparedness, and the American Red Cross Capital Region is urging residents to make sure households, schools and business are prepared.
“It is important to ensure that you and your family are prepared for disaster all year round,” said Kathleen Weis, CEO for the Red Cross Capital Region. “While this may seem an unusually early start to fire season, disasters can happen at any time and it is important that we all take steps to be ready just in case.”
The Red Cross offers a number of tips and resources to help you prepare for all disasters, including wildfires.
How to Prepare for a Wildfire
· Post emergency phone numbers by every phone in your home.
· Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked.
· Set aside household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, ax, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
· Select building materials and plants that resist fire.
· Regularly clean roofs and gutters.
· Assemble or replenish family emergency kits
Plan ahead and stay as safe as possible during a wildfire
· Plan and practice two ways out of your neighborhood in case your primary route is blocked.
· Select a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate.
· Identify someone who is out of the area to contact if local phone lines are not working.
DOWNLOAD WILDFIRE APP Another thing people should do is download the free Red Cross Wildfire App, available in English or Spanish. The app, found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross, includes features like the “Blaze Tracker” which can be customized to alert someone to fires where they live, travel or have loved ones.
The Wildlfire App also includes:
· “Blaze Warnings” which let users see areas where NOAA has issued warnings that conditions are favorable for potential wildfires.
· “Blaze Alerts” which inform users when a wildfire has begun within 100 miles of any locations monitored.
· “Blaze Path” from Inciweb.org which provides users with a current view of an existing wildfire’s perimeter, how it has spread and the fire’s current location when available.
· One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets, text or email that they are out of harm’s way.
· Locations of open Red Cross shelters.
· Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan.
· Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm.
HOW TO HELP The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and we help people get ready to respond to emergencies. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Capital Region serves a twenty-four county territory including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties. For more information, visit www.redcross.org/capitalregion or follow us on Twitter @RedCrossCRC.