In a brief meeting Thursday, Sept. 11, the Mountain Emergency Service Committee group discussed current projects and were refreshed on the county’s and Cal Fire’s “Ready, Set, Go” program.
This is an effort to encourage people to be prepared in the event of a wildfire. Living on the Hill where wildlands and residential property meet is a high fire risk. Fire officials have been promoting “Ready, Set, Go” since 2009.
Jody Hagemann, senior public information specialist for Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department, stressed that campaigns are in place for the community’s safety.
Proper defense against wildland fires begins with defensible space. This is the “Ready” stage. Brochures emphasize the responsibility of residents to prepare their homes for that rare, but dangerous, fire.
The first step is preparing the open space within 100 feet of the structure to ensure grasses and weeds cannot carry a flame up to the house or porch.
Owners also need to be aware that flames from either shrubs or bushes may reach the lower limbs of small trees, which can touch the house or jump onto larger trees.
After the perimeter defensive, owners need to assess and to defend the structure itself. Many people do not understand the risk of burning embers blowing off vegetation and onto the roofs or under the eaves.
The “Set” stage is the planning residents do in case evacuations are necessary. What routes are safe, where are danger spots, how to prepare the home if left vacant and other preparations are questions people must ask themselves and family.
Finally, “Go” means being aware if evacuations may be needed, listening for the warning or directive, anticipating the danger and leaving ahead of the notice.
More information can be found at www.readyforwildfire.org/go. Hagemann described the step-by-step forms available and encouraged residents to identify any potential problems around their homes and abate them.
In case an evacuation is ordered, residents, particularly parents, need to have a plan for their children, even if in school. If the adults work off the Hill, what is the plan for picking up the children?
“If evacuation orders are necessary, we want people to get off the Hill safely and then to come back to their homes quickly,” Hagemann said.
In other news, the local Medical Reserve Corps had a session on deployment activation Thursday at the Nature Center. The Aguanga Emergency Preparedness Group is being revived, reported Kathleen Henderson, emergency services coordinator from the county Office of Emergency Services.
Mike Feyder, president of the Mountain Disaster Preparedness group, reported that it had received a $500 grant for radio equipment from the Southern California Earthquake Alliance, one of three regional alliances that comprise the statewide Earthquake Country Alliance, a public/private partnership of leading earthquake professionals, emergency managers, government officials, business and community leaders and others.