Is San Diego prepared for wildfires? 10 tips firefighters tell their own families


The National Weather Service has issued a warning that San Diego County faces “extreme” wildfire danger this week, making it the perfect time to review safety tips and fine-tune your evacuation plan to make sure you and your family are prepared.

Weather forecasters are predicting that the Santa Ana winds that have whipped up several dangerous fires in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties will be strongest Wednesday night and Thursday. Parts of East County could see wind speeds as high as 90 mph, while other parts of San Diego could see a range of 30-65 mph.

National Weather Service forecaster Stephen Harrison told The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Gary Robbins that “San Diego County will be the windiest place in Southern California, and that could bring problems.”

Take a look at this map from the National Weather Service.

The region is also under a red flag warning.

Are you, your family and your apartment or house ready? CAL FIRE offers this list of 10 things firefighters tell their own families about how to prepare.

Here are some other tips to consider in preparing for the possible wildfires coming to San Diego County.

How to prepare your home

  • Remove weeds, bush and thinning vegetation.
  • Keep wood piles, propane tanks and combustible materials away from your home.
  • Cut any tree branches within 10 feet of your roof.
  • Keep working fire extinguishers on hand.
  • Test and/or change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Know where your electric and water main shut-off controls are and how to use them.

How to protect yourself and/or your family

  • Create a family disaster plan that includes meeting locations and communication plans.
  • Have a plan for evacuating pets.
  • Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire.
  • Prepare a kit with necessary medications, money and other supplies.

What to know about evacuating

  • Evacuate as soon as you are told by authorities.
  • Alert family and neighbors.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and boots if possible.
  • Wear a dry bandana or particle mask if possible.
  • If time allows, turn off propane tanks and gas.
  • If time allows, leave exterior lights on.
  • Leave windows and doors closed but unlocked.

Here’s an easy reminder on what to grab from the County of Los Angeles.

Where to turn for emergency updates

Consider signing up for AlertSanDiego if you aren’t already registered. It’s the County of San Diego’s regional notification system. Sign up here.

Here’s who to follow on social media.

For more tips about how to be prepared, check out this guide from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department or this guide from CAL FIRE.

Email: abby.hamblin@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @abbyhamblin

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