The time is yesterday
I don't need to tell you what's surely on your mind. The many California fires early this season - our thoughts are with Lake and Mendocino counties especially - should remind us not to wait any longer to prepare for another catastrophe in our own backyard. Take action now.
SoCo Alert - Sign up for this to get local emergency notifications by telephone, cell phone, text, email, social media, or all of the above. Go to sonomacounty.ca.gov/FES/Emergency-Management/SoCoAlert/#signup, or call 866-939-0911.
NIXLE Emergency Alerts - Text your zip code to 888777 for alerts on your cell phone.
Neighborhood coordination - We all need to share information in a hurry during an emergency. Plan ahead - share contact information with all your neighbors. Set up a phone tree, a Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media neighborhood group.
Imminent fire alert - How many of us, while fleeing the fires in our cars, were honking our horns to make sure that everyone knew that there was a big problem? I wasn't, but I sure will next time. Maybe buy an air horn, stand outside and sound an alarm.
Go Bags - When we ask local fire officials what's the best thing we can do to prepare for another fire, they tell us: be ready to leave. Be aware of the weather, and when it's hot, dry and windy, be ready to evacuate. Get a backpack or suitcase and prepare to be gone for a while. Think about food, water, money, medications, copies of important papers, pet food and meds. There are lots of helpful lists - go to the website of Sonoma County's Fire and Emergency Services Department, www.sonomacounty.ca.gov/FES/Emergency-Management/. Here are a couple other helpful sites: www.ready.gov/build-a-kit, or www.thebugoutbagguide.com.
Large Animal Preparedness - The best possible information was created right in Glen Ellen - the Halter Project website, www.halterproject.org. If you have horses, cows, any kind of livestock, go to Halter.
Ready Glen Ellen website - Thanks to the Glen Ellen Forum for creating the website www.readyglenellen.com. Go there now for lots of helpful information.
Cal Fire - Cal Fire has developed the Ready For Wildfire Mobile App which has a wide range of information, including how to create defensible space around your home, how to fire “harden” your house, and how to create an evacuation and family communication plan. You can also get alerts of wildfires within 30 miles of you, or look at a map of all the state's current fires. Go to www.readyforwildfire.org to download the app and to find out other essential information from Cal Fire.
Last October, Ann and I had to leave our Kenwood property in the blink of an eye. By planning ahead, lots of things might have been different - we could have left earlier, we could have had some time to make sure all our neighbors knew what was going on (thankfully, they did), we could have had time to shut down all our utilities, we might have brought more than our wallets, phones and the dogs. We now know we need to be more prepared. All of us do.