SACRAMENTO, CA (May 1, 2023) — With California Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaration that May 1-7, 2023, is Wildfire Preparedness Week, the American Red Cross California Gold Country Region is reminding Californians to plan ahead to ensure their safety if wildfires threaten the state in the months ahead.
HOW TO GET READY: Most wildfires occur between June and August. Follow these steps to help make sure your family is prepared to either evacuate or shelter in place.
Create an evacuation plan. Plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Plan multiple routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets. If you already have an emergency plan, update and it and review with family members so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.
Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant and pets if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Because of the pandemic, include a mask for everyone in your household. If you already have a disaster kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date.
Be informed. Find out how local officials will contact you during a wildfire emergency and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
WILDFIRE PREVENTION: Sadly, people cause 85% of wildfires by burning debris, using equipment improperly, discarding cigarettes carelessly, leaving campfires unattended or intentionally setting a fire. To help prevent wildfires, follow these critical tips:
Don’t drive your vehicle onto dry grass or brush. Hot components under your vehicle can spark fires.
Use equipment responsibly. Lawn mowers, chain saws, tractors and trimmers can all spark a wildfire.
Use caution any time you use fire. Dispose of charcoal briquettes and fireplace ashes properly, never leave any outdoor fire unattended, and make sure that outdoor fires are fully extinguished before leaving the area.
If residential debris burning is allowed — use caution. After obtaining any necessary permits, ensure that burning is not currently restricted in your area.
Store combustible or flammable materials in approved safety containers away from the house.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Because of the climate crisis, the Red Cross is now launching nearly twice as many relief operations for major disasters than we did a decade ago. This growing need for assistance is prompting us to increase our volunteer capacity so we can continue responding on a near-constant basis.
Our volunteers are at the heart of our mission and represent 90% of our workforce. Already across the country, they’re continuously on the ground, providing shelter, comfort, hot meals, health services and recovery support to families who are overwhelmed and have nowhere else to go. The need to help during disasters has never been greater. Join us to provide relief and hope when it matters most. Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up for opportunities with your local chapter.
Our most-needed disaster positions include supporting shelters and providing health services.
SHELTER SUPPORT: Help at a shelter during a large disaster by welcoming and registering residents, serving meals, setting up cots, distributing blankets and personal hygiene kits, and providing information and other assistance to people in need.
HEALTH SERVICES: We also need volunteers who can use their professional skills as a licensed health care provider to deliver hands-on support, including care and education to people staying at a shelter during a large disaster. Qualified licenses include RN, LPN, LVN, EMT, Paramedic, MD, DO, PA, NP and APRN.
DISASTER ACTION TEAM: While big disasters get the most news coverage, smaller disasters, such as home fires, are no less devastating to those affected. Join your local Disaster Action Team to help families in need by providing food, lodging, comfort, recovery assistance and other support.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.