Are You Prepared for an Evacuation?

4/21/2021

Wildfire season is upon us. Are you prepared to leave your home in a moment's notice? Firefighters with the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District and residents in the Los Ranchitos subdivision recently practiced an evacuation drill. Find out how it went. Sponsored by Kroegers Ace Hardware and FASTSIGNS.

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Are you prepared to leave your home in a moment's notice if you have to evacuate to safety? Firefighters with the Upper Pine River Protection District recently tested the effectiveness of the region's reverse 911 system in a mock evacuation. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Kroegers Ace Hardware and FASTSIGNS of Durango. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Residents In the Los Ranchitos Subdivision learned how quickly they needed to evacuate when they received a reverse 911 emergency notice during a mock drill under the direction of the Upper Pine River Protection District. The drill was a test of the reverse 911 system and of the fire districts management plan to account for the households in the Los Ranchitos subdivision.

Did they find it on our Facebook page? Did they find it on the La Plata County Emergency Management page? Did they get it through the reverse 911? Did they get it as an emergency message over their cell phone? So we really want to see if we have a redundancy in the ability to notify people that they need to exit their homes and evacuate due to an emergency. And we don't have anybody going door to door and we don't because typically, there's not enough of us to go door to door even if you include the law enforcement folks in this. So we're really relying on these technology systems and neighbor to neighbor to get the word out.

Of course, Los Ranchitos residents knew ahead of time that they were participating in the drill. But in a real emergency, residents won't have much time to respond, especially as drought conditions and beetle-killed trees contribute to more highly combustible fuels in the forests.

Well, we've certainly seen that, the intensity of wildfire's been in these mega fires is getting bigger and bigger. We're also seeing fire behavior that we haven't seen before. We're seeing fires makes very significant runs especially in beetle kill or where there's not been any mitigation done in the subdivision. So it's all essentially, you're rolling the dice. As we saw in California last year and the year before, some people then didn't get enough time, unfortunately, and they perished from the fire. Other people are getting an hour notice, two hour notice. I would say we're a little more conscientious and we certainly were last year with wild land fire evacuations. As we had a fire on 2:45, we evacuated early because we knew people were quarantined in their homes. We knew that kids were out of school and you're dumping a lot of folks out on a two lane highway to try to evacuate out of the area.

Evans, urge all La Plata County residents to sign up for reverse 911 notices and to plan in advance for an evacuation

Obviously shaping up to be a very active wild land fire season. I would just strongly encourage people to make sure that they're ready, set go. They have their emergency plans in place, they have a rally point for where they're going to meet their loved ones if they get separated, they need to make sure that they have their critical documents someplace else maybe not in their home, maybe a safety deposit box or with a trusted relative. Things like your insurance policy copies of your passport, copies of your driver's license maybe any other very critical documents that you would have. And then just make sure that this year you're probably not letting your car get down to almost empty before you fill it up, make sure you have those prize possessions that you can put into some container and load in your car and go at a moment's notice. You know, the one last thing is don't forget your pets. And, if you have a dog, a cat, a lizard or a minor bird, you need to make sure that you have a way to transport 'em. You've got a pet taxi or a pet carrier. Very important to make sure you have that stuff on standby. Maybe in a closet, obviously with a fire and an emergency evacuation situation, pets are going to get agitated and a simple leash may not be the best thing for 'em. You want to be able to put them in, like I said, a pet taxi or a pet carrier or a cage of some sort, and be able to evacuate 'em with you. They're just as important as everybody else in your family.

To sign up for emergency notices visit the county's website@co.laplata.co.us. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network, serving Archuleta, Montezuma, La Plata and San Miguel County in Southwest Colorado and San Juan County in New Mexico. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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