PALM DESERT, CALIF. — With continued drought conditions persisting throughout the state, the American Red Cross Coachella Valley/Morongo Basin is urging all residents to take steps now to prepare for the threat of wildfires.
“Unfortunately, Southern California is no stranger to wildfires,” said Lois Beckman, chapter executive director. “At the Red Cross, we know that preparedness makes all the difference. By taking steps today, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger by being ready to respond when the time comes.”
The Red Cross encourages everyone to help protect homes, neighborhoods and entire communities from wildfires during Wildfire Awareness Week, May 3-9, 2015. As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death.
Create and Practice an Evacuation Plan
Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a wildfire occurs. Select a place to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate, and plan and practice two routes out of your neighborhood in case the primary route is blocked. To locate the nearest Red Cross emergency shelter, check your Red Cross Wildfire or Emergency App or visit redcross.org/shelter.
Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Pack a first aid kit and a seven-day supply of essential medications, nonperishable foods, a manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, cell phone chargers, copies of important documents like your insurance policies, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area and other items for the whole family. Identify household items that can be used as fire tools (e.g. a rake, ax, shovel, bucket, chain or hand saw).
Know Your Risks - Be Informed
It is important to understand the types of disasters that could occur in your area and the different ways to obtain information about these disasters. Make sure you and everyone in your family is familiar with local radio and TV news stations, and how to secure updated information.
Prepare Your Home.
Select building materials and plants that resist fire. Regularly clean your roof and gutters to remove flammable debris. Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well or swimming pool. Make sure driveway entrances and your home’s address are clearly marked.
Download FREE Red Cross Apps.
The Red Cross Wildfire App helps you track the most recent developments in your area with a “Wildfire News” section that includes links to all fire-fighting agencies’ Twitter feeds and websites. The new Red Cross Emergency App contains tips on how to assemble an emergency kit to use in the event of an evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of the nearest Red Cross shelters. Both apps also include a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. These apps can be downloaded by visiting redcross.org/apps or in Google Play or the Apple App store.
For more information on what to do before, during and after a wildfire, visit redcross.org/prepare/disaster/wildfire.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/coachella or visit us on Twitter at @CVRedCross.