What’s your evacuation plan? Here’s what you can do to prepare BEFORE disaster strikes

Pennington County Emergency Management FlyerRAPID CITY, S.D. — What has now become Colorado’s most destructive wildfire is a pertinent reminder to make a plan for when disaster strikes close to home.

The key to protecting your family, loved ones and home from a fire is preparing long before the fire has even started. 

Fireproofing your home actually begins outside and Monica Colby, Fire and Life Safety Specialists, RCFD, explains why.

“Where the wind blows the leaves and pine needles now, that’s exactly where it’s going to blow those burning embers. Those brands are going to catch that on fire and then that’s how the house burns down,” she says.

Officials recommend keeping your yard mowed and any flammable-like shopped wood far from the structure.

Another step to take when things are calm is signing up for alerts.

“When the time actually comes, you want to be like ‘ok what do I do next?’ and that’s when you hit public safety hub,” says Alexa White, Deputy Director of Pennington County Emergency Management. “Hopefully you’ve signed up for public warning messages and you have signed up for everything that you could possibly get to help you get the warnings that you need to make a decision.”

With public warning messages (sign up here), you can pick five locations that you want updates for, so you can keep an eye on your family too.

211 is also used to disperse information, so there are always multiple ways to get updates.

“As soon as we can get information up on our public safety hub, get that information to 211, then they become that conduit for information and what needs to happen next,” White adds. 

Now, when the time does come to evacuate, how do you know what to grab?

Pennington County Emergency Management has compiled a list of the five P’s of evacuations:

  • People and pets
  • Prescriptions
  • Papers
  • Personal needs
  • Priceless items

Officials also point out that roads may only allow people out of the evacuated zone and trying to head back to grab a forgotten item puts lives in unnecessary danger.

“Making sure that everyone’s out of the area protects our firefighters,” Colby explains. “The firefighters put their lives in danger to help save people, so making sure all of the people are out helps keep the firefighters safe so they can focus on what they need to do to stop the fire.”

Now is as good of a time as ever to make your plan!

Categories: Local News