Understand Your Needs
If you have access or functional needs, understand how these will impact you during an evacuation and ensure you have redundant systems of support to address these needs. Remember that wildfire deaths are usually related to extreme fire behavior, failure to get an alert and delayed departure.
- Are you signed up for alerts? The various alert systems are explained here. Alert Marin is the most important alerting system – make sure you are signed up. If there is no cell phone coverage in your area or when cell phone towers are not working due to a power outage, you should have a NOAA weather radio to receive alerts. If you are deaf, deaf blind or hard of hearing, make sure you know how to receive these alerts which are sent both audibly and by text.
- Decision to Evacuate: The majority of fatalities occur when residents evacuate at the last moment or choose not to evacuate. If you know you will need assistance, you should consider leaving immediately if you receive an evacuation warning. If you receive an evacuation order, you must leave immediately. Have a plan in place so that you can leave your home quickly and access your planned transportation. It is likely that public safety resources will be overwhelmed, so you must take responsibility for your own safety. Do not delay.
- Evacuation Warning If your home is under an evacuation warning, that’s the time to initiate your emergency plan. Have your Go Kit ready. If you or anyone in your family has medical or mobility issues, consider evacuating when you get the warning, and not waiting until a possible evacuation order.
- Access to Transportation: If you don’t have a car or cannot drive, how will you evacuate? This will require pre-planning and usually involves working with neighbors or a very close family member or friend. If you’re relying on someone else’s car to evacuate, you should leave your home “sooner rather than later” because your ride might not be able to physically get to you if you wait too long. It’s important that your emergency bag is light enough to transport without a car. Are there any other options where you live? Walking or biking is generally not a safe option.
- Mobility Issues: If due to age or disability you are slow moving, how will you get yourself and your essential belongings to your mode of transportation in a timely manner? Pre-planned support from caregivers, neighbors and family members who live close by is important to ensure your safety. Consider having a family member or caretaker stay with you during Red Flag Warning days. Make sure you have a Go Kit ready which includes medicines another essential health items.
- Red Flag Warning: The strong winds and low humidity experienced when there is a Red Flag Warning in place are the factors which create extreme wildfire behavior. These are the days when you must carefully monitor the alert systems. Make sure you are near your warning devices and that they are functioning (phones, radios, etc.). Make sure your evacuation support systems are ready to go (check in with neighbors, relatives, etc.). If you have the resources, you might consider staying in a hotel or with a family member in a safer area until the warning is lifted. Another option is to have a friend, family member or caregiver with a vehicle stay at your house. Ensure that all your essential items are ready to go. Prepare your home and yard AFTER you have prepared yourself and your support systems for timely evacuation.