CALAVERAS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – With wildfires on the rise, officials with Calaveras County Emergency Services said they are always thinking of new ways to prepare people for emergencies in the event a wildfire prompts evacuation orders.
“Wildfires are a very large concern of ours,” said John Osbourn, director of emergency services. “If we can notify our residents that there’s a threat to their safety sooner, and they can react to that sooner. It can saves lives.”
Calaveras County first responders are now encouraging everyone to pick up new evacuation tags.
“This tag has a wire twist tie at the end of it, that you can place at the end of your driveway in the event of an evacuation,” Calaveras CountySheriff’s Sgt. Greg Stark said.
Calaveras OES officials said the tags can save first responders precious time during a fast-moving wildfire.
“Fire can spread double in size once a minute. So, if you see a 10-acre fire over in the distance that fire can be 20 acres in a minute. Then 40 acres, then 80 acres, and so on and so on,” explained Chief John Roharbaugh with the Angels Camp Fire Department.
That’s why officials say it’s always important to heed those evacuation warnings and orders.
“Oftentimes those citizens decide to evacuate when it’s too late,” said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Kevin Bohall. “And they put themselves in danger, and they put first responders, including fire and law enforcement in danger.”
And while some may worry the evacuation tags will be a bright red beacon for looters, law enforcement said that won’t be the case.
“Don’t be fearful that people that are criminals may know that your house is evacuated because Angels Camp Police Department and members of law enforcement throughout the county will be doing extra patrols throughout the neighborhoods to ensure the safety of all residents,” said Chief Scott Ellis of the Angels Camp Police Department.
Calaveras OES said the bottom line is the evacuation tags can save time which can save lives.
“Saving seconds and minutes really do matter,” Osbourn said.
Evacuation tags can be picked up from local fire stations, law enforcement agencies or at the Calaveras OES office.