As California continues to endure an historic drought, summer heat and exceptionally dry conditions have given way to numerous wildfires throughout the state. In the Capital Region, firefighters continue to battle the Bully Fire in Shasta County, which has burned more than 8,700 acres.
Red Cross volunteers are currently operating an evacuation shelter at the Igo-Oso Elementary School in the town of Igo, where we are providing shelter, food, and emergency resources for evacuated residents.
The Bully Fire is the latest incident to impact our state and region, highlighting just how vulnerable our communities are to the dangers of wildfires.
“Wildfires are a threat in our region every year, and the abnormally dry conditions have only magnified those risks,” said Kathleen Weis, Chief Executive Officer for the Red Cross Capital Region. “It is critical that everyone take steps to be ready, and know what to do should you be faced with a wildfire emergency.”
The Red Cross offers a number of tools and resources to help households prepare and respond to fire emergencies:
Post emergency phone numbers by every phone in your home.
Clear and maintain “Defensible Space” around your home, free of dry vegetation and flammable materials.
Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked.
Select building materials and plants that resist fire.
Regularly clean roofs and gutters.
Build an emergency kit with enough food, water, clothing, copies of important documents, and supplies to sustain every member of your household (including pets) for at least 72 hours.
Establish an emergency action plan for you and your family
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.
DURING A WILDFIRE
· Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. If told to evacuate, evacuate. Don’t wait.
· Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
· Always back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
· Confine pets to one room so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
· Listen and watch for air quality reports and health warnings about smoke.
· Limit exposure to smoke and dust
· If you have asthma or another lung disease, follow your health care provider's advice and seek medical care if your symptoms worsen.
More information on wildfire safety is available on the preparedness section of www.redcross.org.
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:
· Wildfire preparedness information and resources.
· 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.
· Information and quizzes to help you get wildfire ready; social media integration to share your progress with your networks.
· Links to latest wildfire news information from CAL FIRE and inciweb.
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.