‘Have a plan’: State stresses preparedness due to ‘hazards’ of living in California

California

(KTXL) — From earthquakes to the sweltering drought conditions that are fueling more than a dozen wildfires, Mother Nature is keeping the state’s Office of Emergency Services on their toes. 

“It’s a beautiful state, but there are inherent hazards about living here and we all need to keep that in the back of our mind and just be ready and have a plan when those things happen,” said Bryan May, with California OES. 

May says 2021’s fire season has proven to be busier than usual, and one of their main concerns is the current evacuations caused by the Dixie Fire. 

“We are constantly talking with them, getting not only updates on the fire but the weather conditions,” May said. “It truly, truly is neighbor helping neighbor, so if your county is in trouble, we can call a neighboring county. And if things get bad enough, a neighboring state as well.” 

Someone who understands the importance of communication during a disaster is Elizabeth Shaw after losing most of their farm to the LNU Fire last year. Tuesday’s brush fire near their home on Pleasants Valley Road was a startling reminder. 

“It just brought it all back — the whole devastation, the fear, all of that,” Shaw said, who is a Pleasants Valley Fire council member. 

She says, thanks to the effectiveness of their newly formed Pleasants Valley Fire Council, the damage was minimal compared to what it could have been. 

“There was great communication between us; we all live fairly close to each other,” Shaw said. “We saw helicopters. There were firemen, there were fire trucks — I mean they were all out.” 

Her only regret was not being more prepared with an emergency kit. 

“Basic provisions that you can have if your family needed to sustain itself for two or three days. Easy things like a blanket, this is the emergency food that is readily found now, you can get it online, or even canned goods work,” May said. “One thing we take for granted is cash on hand. If there’s an earthquake and we can’t use our ATMs, do you have cash on hand that could sustain your family for two or three days?” 

A first-aid kit, lightweight jacket, jeans, closed-toed shoes, important documents and bottled water are other things to consider when packing a go-bag. 

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