Wild Winds and Wildfires Blowing Your Way?
Dangerous fire weather has returned to large areas of California and we are again confronted with deadly and destructive wildfires. The risks of wildfire, as we saw from last year’s devastation, reach from urban communities to the most remote mountains when dry, windy Santa Ana conditions arise. Protecting your property against these powerful forces of nature reduces losses and helps make your community more resilient.
Keep Fuel Away
Clearing brush and debris around your home and businesses is essential to protect your buildings and creates a defensible space for fire fighters to do their work if a fire comes near. Pay attention to nearby trees and how they can throw off flying embers in your direction. Dispose of lawn and gardening cuttings promptly. Roofs, gutters and eaves need to be cleared of anything flammable that may have accumulated.
Keep Sparks Out
While clearing these areas, inspect for any maintenance needed to prevent embers from entering the building such as repairing roofing materials and screening vents. Windows should be shut when leaving, and especially when an evacuation is ordered. Buildings with exteriors constructed to resist fires are completely vulnerable if the smallest sparks can get to combustible materials inside.
Keep in Touch
Make sure you stay informed with the most updated public information coordinated by your local emergency services agencies about procedures for evacuation. Learn what facilities are designated as shelters in your vicinity should they be needed. Ensure your family has a plan for reconnecting and reuniting in the event of a disaster. Review emergency plans before an emergency happens!
Keep Them Trained
Prepare your employees for their responsibilities if a wildfire gets near your facilities with training and written instructions for handling evacuation if public safety officials order it. If you have responsibility for children, be sure your staff has specific procedures, so everyone is accounted for and plans are established for getting them safely back to their parents or guardians.
Keep on Caring
A wildfire going through your community will be a disturbing experience for everyone, and especially the children. Whether or not they have lost their homes, even a temporary displacement can be traumatizing. Disasters, like the wildfires we’re currently going through, are times for everyone to be good neighbors. By supporting each other, we improve the prospects for a strong recovery.
Advance preparation and awareness of what to do if a wildfire strikes your area will help your community bounce back more quickly.
About Brad Keenan
Brad Keenan is an Account Executive in the P&C Public Agency Division. He works with school districts, community colleges, cities, and charter schools across Southern California. Brad has been a featured speaker for several public agency organizations since he started working at Keenan more than five years ago.