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Red Cross Urges Preparedness in Anticipation of Busy Fire Season

Red Cross disaster responder at wildfire response.
Severe drought conditions raise the possibility for severe early season fire activity continuing through the summer.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Friday, May 3, 2013 – With several wildfires already cropping up throughout the state, early predictions of a long and busy fire season are proving to be spot on. In the Capital Region, dry weather and high winds create a significant potential for wildfires and the American Red Cross is urging residents to make sure households, schools and business are prepared.

MORE FIRES POSSIBLE IN MAY The National Interagency Fire Center’s Predictive Services reports there will be a significant potential for wildfires this month in several states and severe drought conditions raise the possibility for severe early season fire activity continuing through the summer.

“People should get ready now,” said Kathleen Weis, Interim CEO for the Red Cross Capital Region Chapter. “They should plan for two ways out of their neighborhood in case one is blocked, and select a place for members of their household to meet outside their neighborhood.”

WILDFIRE SAFETY If wildfires are possible in someone’s community, they should make sure driveway entrances and house numbers are clearly marked and identify and maintain an adequate water source outside their home such as a small pond or swimming pool. It’s a good idea to select building materials and plants that resist fire, and regularly clean roofs and gutters. More information on wildfire safety is available on the preparedness section of www.redcross.org.

DOWNLOAD WILDFIRE APP Another thing people should do is download the free Red Cross Wildfire App, available in English or Spanish. The app, found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross, includes features like the “Blaze Tracker” which can be customized to alert someone to fires where they live, travel or have loved ones.

The Wildlfire App also includes:

  • “Blaze Warnings” which let users see areas where NOAA has issued warnings that conditions are favorable for potential wildfires.
  • “Blaze Alerts” which inform users when a wildfire has begun within 100 miles of any locations monitored.
  • “Blaze Path” from Inciweb.org which provides users with a current view of an existing wildfire’s perimeter, how it has spread and the fire’s current location when available.
  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets, text or email that they are out of harm’s way.
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters.
  • Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan.
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm.
  • HOW TO HELP The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and we help people get ready to respond to emergencies. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

    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 redcross.org or join our blog at blog.redcross.org.