Evacuation prep for everyone — five things to do now
By Julie Atwood
Spring has definitely sprung. Along with a great feeling of relief and release from the restrictions of COVID, there’s a renewed sense of urgency to mow, graze, trim, and otherwise clean up our homes and neighborhoods for summer … and fire season. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and, well, done with it? We know the feeling. Tackling small but important tasks one at a time, while enjoying the weather and freedom to get out and be with friends again, will make prep projects easier to cope with. Here’s our “short list” of things you can do now. It’s more fun than spring cleaning and every one could be a life-saver.
Refresh “Ready Kits” and Stay Crates for everyone in the family
To refresh ready kits and stay crates for each family member, replace expired prescriptions, replace food and batteries, improve your clean water storage receptacles and resources, refresh your first aid kits, and make sure you have whistles and reflective gear in your kits.
Update and upgrade your animal emergency plans
To ensure you can safely evacuate your animals in an emergency, develop a network of “evac buddies” who can help your animals if you’re not there. You can also improve the odds of their survival by creating safer spaces for your animals to “shelter in place” during and after a fire or after an earthquake.
Other ways to upgrade your animal emergency plans are to increase your water storage capacity, get together with neighbors to create a Neighborhood Safety Shed, and, while you’re at it, reach out to less-able neighbors with pets to help them make animal emergency plans. Adopt a neighbor with functional or access challenges and help them get connected with resources. Prepare – continued from page 18
Pick up “Evacuated” tags & evacuation planning kits
Placards and other important materials will be distributed by Sonoma County Sheriff ’s Office staff and local volunteers on May 1 at the Glen Ellen CalFire Station, 14000 Sonoma Highway, next to the entrance for Sonoma Valley Regional Park. More information will be available via the Kenwood Press, on the Ready Glen Ellen website readyglenellen.com, and by following the HALTER Project and the Sonoma Sheriff on Facebook.
Update emergency contacts
Make sure the information for emergency contacts is current and includes out-of-area friends or relatives. You should also update your neighborhood phone tree and set up a family or neighborhood emergency “chat” group on WhatsApp or a similar platform. Now’s the time to bring your address book up to date, and back up all your contact info both digitally and in “old school” address books. Also make sure to update pet (and equine) microchip registration info.
Know your zone
Get familiar with Sonoma County emergency sites for updates, as well as where to access evacuation zone maps and community resources. Keep up to date at socoemergency.org.
If you really want to be prepared, practice putting your cat in a pillowcase and loading your equines/goats/ chickens into vehicles in the dark. Stay up to date on emergency preparedness and response for animals at HALTERproject.org.
Feeling empowered? Inspire others—send us your “Spring Prep Re-Boot” stories and photos!
Visit FireSAFESonoma.org, DisasterDocsToGo.com, and RedCross.org for more information.