It's Not Too Late to Prepare: 10 Things You Can Do Today
A significant fire-weather event is predicted for this weekend, following Wednesday's Red Flag Warning that resulted in dozens of homes destroyed in Sonoma county. This weekend's predicted weather has even more damaging potential, with the National Weather Service referring to the potential 80 MPH winds as ones of "historic" strength.
FIRESafe MARIN has these last minute tips for Marin residents to prepare for the weekend's fire potential (all of these can be done without power - thanks PG&E!):
- Configure your cell phone so that Alert Marin will always ring and sound a tone, even when your phone is set to "silent." The caller ID for Alert Marin is 415-473-6376. Enter this number as a new contact in your phone - named "Alert Marin - EMERGENCY" and add this contact to your "favorites." Follow instructions for smartphone to set calls from this caller to "Emergency Bypass" (iOS), or set as a priority contact (Android). Alert Marin also sends emergency notifications via SMS (Text). The two SMS short codes used by our system are 87844 and 89361. Add these as alternate numbers for your new contact "Alert Marin - EMERGENCY."
- Double-check the supplies in your "Go Kit." Make sure your headlamp, flashlight, and AM/FM radio have fresh batteries. Don't have a go kit? You haven't been paying attention. Put it together NOW.
- Download, print, and review our Evacuation Checklist and fill out the family communications plan on the back side. Give a copy to each family member. Go through the entire checklist BEFORE a fire strikes.
- Walk around the outside of your house and look for any combustibles within 5' of the house. Move them at least 30' away from your home, or inside (don't move them closer to your neighbor's house!). Look for things like: trash, cardboard, recyclables; stacked firewood; lumber; wood or wicker patio furniture; privacy screens, outdoor curtains or blinds; patio furniture cushions; potted plants; natural fiber (jute) doormats.
- Prop open wooden gates, especially ones that attach to your house.
- Place garden hoses on all outside spigots, with "squeeze-grip" type nozzles attached.
- Fill the fuel tanks on each of your cars. Park your evacuation car in the driveway, facing out, or if you park on street, facing in the direction you'd evacuate.
- Check on elderly and disabled neighbors, or anyone who might need assistance in your neighborhood. Make a plan to carpool during an emergency.
- Clean your roof, rain gutters, and around the base of exterior walls and decks. Remove ALL leaf litter and debris.
- Seal your home's exterior vents if the openings are larger than 1/8". Duct tape (especially aluminized tape) or pre cut plywood, fiber cement, or metal covers can effectively prevent embers from getting into your home. Seal crawlspace vents and under eave or attic vents. Be sure to remove the tape when the danger has passed. We wish you would have replaced your vents earlier, but this trick can help if you haven't made this important upgrade yet.
Good luck this weekend. Be fire safe! Please be careful with portable generators, and don't barbecue this weekend, even if it's your only option for cooking while the power is out.