August 20, 2020

Wildfire Evacuation Tactics

It is August 20, 2020, wildfires continue to rage along the central coast of California in Santa Cruz County and the neighboring Santa Clara County affecting tens of thousands of people and tens of thousands of acres.  There is zero containment so far.  Evacuation of entire communities is occurring.

I received a helpful list from a neighbor on preparing for a wildfire evacuation. I am sharing this information in case it is helpful to others.

- TURN ON yard sprinklers.  Turn them off before you evacuate.
- MOVE outdoor furniture / anything flammable to IN garage.
- TAKE DOWN shades 
- CLEAN gutters / leaves of debris
- RUN hose lines around property, brass nozzles are best. 
- Turn OFF natural gas - wrench next to meter 
- Turn ON outdoor house lights (front of house/garage) 
- CLOSE windows and doors - Remove all cloth and plastic curtains 
- EMAIL / TEXT / CALL Let family outside of area know individual / group plans - Leave a letter on kitchen counter of who you are, who is with you and where you are going and how you’re getting there - INFORM all neighbors of your plans and learn theirs 
- MOVE indoor furniture away from windows / doors to center of room 
- MOVE flammable materials to the center of the garage, ideally not on the ground. 
- PLACE extension ladder leading to roof 
- CLOSE OFF roof / eave vents - duct tape 
- DISCONNECT automatic garage door opener, manually close. 
- TAPE any gaps between garage door and ground, so no embers can blow under 
- LEAVE car unlocked with keys in ignition 
- WRITE note and paste to front door informing you have evacuated and the date. Note where the closest fire hydrant is to you. 
- POSITION security cameras to see your surroundings better 
- CUT all branches that are too close to your house. Form pile away from house, not under trees (center of driveway for example) 
- REMOVE flammable plants (lavender, etc) within 3 feet of home 
- HELP your neighbors and COMMUNICATE regularly 
- EVACUATE while you have time on your side

If you are a amateur radio operator, remember, cell phone and internet services are prone to failure.

- BRING your fully charged amateur radio HTs and charger with you (already programmed with your area's repeaters).
- LISTEN to your radio to monitor for news updates.

Do you have additional tactics to add to this list?  Please leave a comment.

Be safe,


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