Officials are urging residents throughout the San Diego region’s most fire-prone areas to prepare for this year’s peak wildfire season.
The county is slated to mail out its “personal disaster plan” to roughly 200,000 homes and businesses starting next week. The recently updated 16-page document will be sent to those living in areas designated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as “very-high fire severity zones.”
The plans — which will be provided in both English and Spanish — will also be available starting in November up at any one of San Diego County Library’s 33 branches. The document can also be downloaded at readysandiego.org.
“This is the most dangerous time of the year. This is when some of our biggest wildfires have happened,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said in a news release. “While the county has done a lot to prepare for wildfire, and we’re better prepared than we’ve ever been, the fact remains that our region is only one bad Santa Ana wind away from another disaster.”
The disaster plan provides several forms for residents to complete, such as making a list of emergency contacts and drawing a floor plan that shows exits, fire extinguishers, emergency supply kits and utility shutoff controls.
The county’s blueprint is aimed at preparing residents for floods, earthquakes and wildfire, providing detailed instructions for each type of emergency.
For example, officials recommend that during an earthquake, residents take shelter under a sturdy desk or table to avoid being injured by falling objects. Those threatened by flooding or wildfire should focus on getting ready to evacuate at the instruction of county officials.
The plan also encourages people to sign up for disaster notifications by cell phone at readysandiego.org , as well as track incident updates at sdcountyemergency.com and at twitter.com/calfiresandiego.
The disaster plan was last mailed out to residents in 2006 and has been available online and distributed at various events as well as at the request of residents.
“Do not wait for a disaster to make a plan, because it will cost you and your family time that you may not have,” Cal Fire San Diego Deputy Chief Nick Schuler said in a statement. “Preparing for any type of disaster includes creating a Personal Disaster Plan. The plan will help you address all the individual steps to take before, during and after an emergency.”
Officials said that a recent survey found that only about half of county residents felt prepared to evacuate within 15 minutes if directed to do so, with more than 60 percent having yet to prepare an emergency plan.
— Joshua Emerson Smith is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune