EVACUATION EXERCISE MAY 4, 2019
E-mail From: Dave Busby, Corvallis Fire - Emergency Planning Manager April 29, 2019
To: Skyline West residents, a personal note from me to you about the evacuation exercise and why it is important.
In 2003, I was still an Active Duty Sailor living in San Diego. We were living in East County, in a town called Lakeside. Early one Saturday morning, we got a Sheriff driving by with a loudspeaker telling us all to evacuate. I remember him saying we only had 10 minutes to get out. We had nothing prepared, and horses, dogs, and cats to pack out as well! That was our start of 3 days evacuation from what would be known as the Cedar Fire. It was a very long 3 days, but our house didn’t burn and my family and critters were all safe.
This Saturday, we are offering an opportunity for you to walk through the process of evacuation in a safe, learning environment. Take a hard look at your 3 days’ worth of supplies (your Go-Kit), how you communicate to family and friends. If you have pets, how to pack them up and get them to safety as well. Expect to get notification (through theLinn-Benton Alert) of the evacuation around 9:20. Do not evacuate in advance of getting the notification.
The evacuation route will lead us to the Northwest Hills Community Church (3300 NW Walnut Blvd). The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Command Post will have coffee and donuts, and some disaster handouts for you to take. A quick check-in, a bite to eat, some coffee, some preparedness info, and off you go! Bryan Lee, Benton County Sheriff Emergency Planning Specialist will be there to answer any hard evacuation questions!
Your participation also helps the responder agencies as well. They will also get to practice guiding a community out of danger towards safety. This is not an evolution we get to practice, so this really helps us learn as well.
There is always a chance of a wildfire happening in this area. Hopefully, you never have to experience the chaos of being evacuated, but this is an opportunity to walk through it and learn what works best for you. Please participate, it will help us all be that much better prepared.
Fire Emergency Planning Manager
City of Corvallis
“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”
Wildfire is a clear and present danger to the Skyline West neighborhood. All residents are urged to prepare for the event of a catastrophic wildfire. The following are some comments with general advice and links to more information. Also you will find the e-mailed content from the May, 2019, Evacuation Exercise.
The SWNA Firewise committee is helping our neighborhood be prepared by arranging events like Dumpster Days and the Evacuation Exercise and by disseminating information.
Keep your yard clear of brush to 100 ft from your residence.
Remove/reduce combustible material from around your residence.
Enroll in the Linn-Benton emergency alert system.
Have an emergency evacuation kit ready for immediate departure.
Have your important documents identified and in a central grab-and-go location.
Don't forget your medications.
Have a family plan for how to meet or stay in contact.
"Living with Fire" An OSU Forestry webpage about what to do before, during and after a wildfire.
Emergency Alert. An explanation and sign-up for the Linn-Benton emergency alert system.
CAL Fire Ready, Set, Go Campaign. A wildfire preparation site by California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
National Fire Protection Association. The parent organization for Firewise site full of tips and advice.
Tips for Homeowners Checklist. Ways to mitigate risks of wildfire affecting your home.
Evacuation Exercise, May 4, 2019:
Conducted in conjunction with the Benton County Emergency Services Division and Corvallis Police, this exercise includes a series of e-mails with advice about preparation for a wildfire evacuation. On Saturday morning, May 4, 2019, between 9-10 AM a practice alert will be sent out over the Linn-Benton Emergency Alert System. Participation is optional, but residents are encouraged to go through their home prep list, gather their emergency evacuation kit and proceed to the evacuation meeting place specified in the alert (NW Hills Community Church don Walnut Blvd.). The content of the e-mails is edited and reproduced here and can be downloaded as a pdf by clicking on the link to the e-mail.
I have learned that at least 42 people have died in the wildfires ravaging CA over the weekend. These people were found in cars and in their homes. Over 7,000 homes have been completely destroyed. John Bailey, an Oregon State University College of Forestry professor, told KATU news "the wildfire destruction that's currently devastating parts of CA could happen here." Read the article, https://katu.com/news/local/osu-professor-many-local-towns-face-risk-of-california-like-wildfire-destruction
Dave Busby, Fire Emergency Planning Manager for the City of Corvallis, communicated with me this morning that the key lesson is being able to receive alerts, the Linn Benton alert and FlashAlert will be primary tools for communicating the threat and coordinating response details. Are you signed up for these alert systems? Click for more information, https://www.co.benton.or.us/sheriff/page/emergency-alert
Will you know what to do in the event of a wildfire? Let’s get prepared! I’ve created a “Living with fire” webpage that has information on before, during, and after a wildfire. Read about it, http://extensionweb.forestry.oregonstate.edu/fireprogram/livingwithfire
Guidance during a wildfire…
Turn on a TV or radio to get the latest emergency information.
If you have a ladder, prop it against the house so you and firefighters have access to roof.
If hoses and adequate water are available set them up. Fill buckets with water.
Remove combustible material from the area surrounding the house (lawn chairs, tables, etc.).
Turn a light on in each room for visibility in case of smoke.
Open or take down flammable drapes and curtains.
Close all venetian blinds and non-flammable window coverings.
Move upholstered furniture away from windows and sliding glass doors.
Be ready to evacuate all family members and pets when requested to do so.
Turn off air conditioning/air circulation systems
Detach electrical garage doors. Back in your car and leave the keys in the ignition.
Secure your pets if possible.
Finally, mark your calendars for May 4th when we have a neighborhood evacuation exercise. You read that correctly! With the help of Dave Busby – Fire Emergency Management Planner, the Corvallis Fire and Police Department, and likely many more people, the Skyline West Neighborhood will go through the evacuation process so that if/when the time comes, WE WILL BE PREPARED!
The Ready, Set, Go! Program is a national program aimed at helping residents be Ready with preparedness understanding, be Set with situational awareness when fire threatens, and to Go, acting early when a fire starts. CAL Fire has an excellent website and a video that I highly encourage you to watch, http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Ready-Set-Go-Campaign/
Get prepared for wildfire before it strikes by following Ready, Set, Go!
- Be Ready: Create and maintain defensible space and harden your home against flying embers.
- Get Set: Prepare your family and home ahead of time for the possibility of having to evacuate.
- Be Ready to GO!: Take the evacuation steps necessary to give your family and home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.
Again, Skyline West will have a neighborhood evacuation on May 4th. Share this information with your neighbors and watch for email updates as we get closer to the date.
Have you created a wildfire action plan?
Your Wildfire Action Plan must be prepared, and familiar to all members of your household well in advance of a wildfire. Use the checklist below to help create your plan. Each family’s plan will be different, depending on a variety of issues, needs, and situations.
YOUR WILDFIRE ACTION PLAN CHECKLIST
Create an evacuation plan that includes:
- A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area.
- Several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
- Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
- A Family Communication Plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.)
- Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family how to use them (check expiration dates regularly).
- Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
- Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for each person, as recommended by the American Red Cross. (See next section for details.)
- Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers posted near your phone and in your emergency supply kit.
- Keep an extra Emergency Supply Kit in your car in case you cannot get to your home because of fire or other emergency.
- Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire.
- Tell your neighbors about Ready, Set, Go! and your Wildfire Action Plan.
I will be sending frequent emails from now until May 4th to help us prepare for the evacuation exercise.
Have you prepared your family?
Evacuation plans for families with young children should include helping toddlers understand how to quickly respond in case of fire, and how adults can escape with babies. Prepare ahead of time by practicing your family’s fire escape plan, and what to do to be safe when there is a wildfire nearby.
It is important to talk to toddlers and small children at a level that they understand and that does not frighten. Here are a few resources that offer guides and tips for families with young children about fire safety and preparing for a disaster:
- A Parent’s Guide to Fire Safety for Babies and Toddlers: The U.S. Fire Administration’s information site for parents and caregivers to help prevent fire death of young children.
- Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies: Sesame Workshop campaign with tips, activities, and other easy tools to help the whole family prepare for emergencies.
- Ready.gov Kids: FEMA’s site for older kids to prepare and plan for a disaster. Includes safety steps, tips, and games to help children learn about and be ready for an emergency.
- Smokey Kids: U.S. Forest Service’s interactive Smokey Bear site with games, information and resources on how to prevent forest fires.
Preparing Seniors and Disabled Family Members
Seniors and people with disabilities also need special consideration when preparing for a disaster. Below are several resources that help individuals and families with special needs plan and prepare for an event such as a wildfire.
- Special Populations Fire-Safe Checklist: U.S. Fire Administration’s fire safety guide for individuals with special needs to help them protect themselves and their home from fire.
- Disaster Preparedness for Senior by Seniors: The American Red Cross booklet designed by and for older adults to prepare them for a sudden emergency.
- Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities: American Red Cross Disaster Services booklet with information and resources to help people with physical, visual, auditory, or cognitive disabilities design a personal disaster plan.
- Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations: Inclusive Preparedness Center website with information and resources for emergency planning.
- Disability.gov Personal Preparedness Guide: Resource site for people with disabilities that gives information on necessary supplies, evacuation procedures and how to assist pets and service animals in the event of a disaster.
Information provided in this email was taken from CAL Fire's Prepare for Wildfire website, http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Prepare-For-Wildfire/
Skyline West Neighborhood Evacuation Exercise, May 4, 2019 in the morning.* Sign-up for the Linn-Benton Alert Emergency Notification System
Assemble an emergency supply kit!
Put together your emergency supply kit long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate. Plan to be away from your home for an extended period of time. Each person should have a readily accessible emergency supply kit. Backpacks work great for storing these items (except food and water) and are quick to grab. Storing food and water in a tub or chest on wheels will make it easier to transport. Keep it light enough to be able to lift it into your car.
EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT CHECKLIST
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person.
- Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
- Prescriptions or special medications
- Change of clothing
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Don’t forget pet food and water!
Items to take if time allows:
- Easily carried valuables
- Family photos and other irreplaceable items
- Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
- Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.
For more information on emergency supplies, visit http://www.ready.gov/
*Expect to get an emergency notification from the Linn-Benton alert system on the morning of May 4th. The alert will tell you where to evacuate.
Pre-evacuation Preparation Steps
When an evacuation is anticipated, follow these checklists (if time allows) to give your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.
Home Evacuation Checklist – How to Prepare for Evacuation:
Inside the House
- Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
- Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters.
- Remove lightweight curtains.
- Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
- Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights.
- Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
- Shut off the air conditioning.
- Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, etc.) or place them in your pool.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.
- Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill water buckets and place them around the house.
- Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running, they can affect critical water pressure.
- Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.
- Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.
- Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.
- Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof.
- Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
- Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation. Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened.
- Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.
- Locate your pets and keep them nearby.
- Prepare farm animals for transport and think about moving them to a safe location early.