RANCHO SANTA FE — When living within a wildland urban interface such as the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, planning ahead for wildfires is a necessity. Preparing for wildfires before they happen is your best defense against the flames.
Even with careful preparation and preventative measures in place, wildfires can still threaten the area and necessitate evacuations.
The following tips will help make the process smooth and safe should you be
told to evacuate your home:
— Wear cotton or wool long pants, long-sleeve shirts or jackets, gloves and a damp cloth to cover your nose and mouth.
— Back your car into the garage (facing out) keeping the windows closed and keys in the ignition.
— Close the garage door, but leave it unlocked. Disconnect the automatic garage door in case of power failure. Place valuable documents, family mementos, pets and other valuables in your car in the garage for a quick departure.
— Move yard furniture, firewood, or other combustible materials away from the exterior of the house or store it in the garage.
— Attach garden hoses to spigots. Place hoses so they can reach any area around your home. Fill sinks, bathtubs and buckets with water to serve as extra water reservoirs.
— Close all windows and doors to prevent sparks from blowing inside. Close all interior doors to slow interior fire spread. Close window shutters if they are fire resistant and cover windows, attic openings, eave vents and sub-floor vents with fire resistant material such as 1/2-inch or thicker plywood.
— Turn porch and yard lights on and turn on a light in each room of your home.
— Shut off liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas valves.
— Evacuate early. Most communities within the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District have narrow roads, which can cause traffic congestion leading to panic for those evacuating.
— You do not need to wait for an evacuation order. If at any time you feel threatened, leave. If you are evacuating with small children, dependent adults, or large animals, allow yourself extra time to safely evacuate.
— If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately. While having your home damaged or destroyed by fire can be devastating, it is not worth risking your life or the lives of firefighters.
— Evacuate in the opposite direction of the fire.
— Call your out-of-town contact and let them know you are evacuating and where you are going.
— Once you have left, stay out of the area until authorities permit re-entry. This may take a while as fire and safety personnel have to make sure it is safe and the infrastructure is in place for residents to repopulate the area.
Large wildfires are extremely unpredictable. Planning ahead is crucial for survival. For more information, visit www.rsf-fire.org.
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