How to Prepare for a Wildfire in Orange County

You were probably not aware that last week was Wildfire Awareness Week. Last Friday, the Barona Fire Protection District, along with numerous emergency service agencies across California, conducted an annual wildfire firefighter field training. This three-day, hands-on training exercise was sponsored by the Barona Band of Mission Indians and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

Ken Kremensky, division chief of Barona Fire Protection District said, “In preparation for the upcoming fire season and to deliver the best defense against wildfires, we want to make sure that our crews are properly trained and equipped to handle any scenario. This annual inter-agency training improves both safety and responsiveness.”

Unlike firefighters, Orange County residents aren’t required to practice drills while wearing full safety gear and carrying firefighting tools to prepare for wildfire season. Kremensky offers a few helpful tips to Orange County residents in the event of a wildfire in your area:

  1. Create defensible space around your home by removing flammable vegetation within a 100 feet radius of your home
  2. Develop a safety and evacuation plan for family members and pets
  3. Safeguard valuables by keeping important paperwork, photos and keepsakes in a place where they can be moved quickly in the event of an evacuation

Here are some additional things to consider:

It’s best to get rid of any debris in your yard left over from windy days or gardening. Unfortunately, the fire in Tustin this morning between Tustin Ranch and Portola Parkway was believed to be caused by arson.

As for an evacuation plan—we know that you feel like Homer Simpson’s goody-two-shoes neighbor making your kids do a fire drill at home, but wouldn’t you rather look silly now and be safe later? You’ll thank yourself if there ever is a fire that your family escapes from safely because of a fire drill every six months.

And what about Fido and Fluffy? Use a sticker (here’s one from Amazon) to let firefighters know that your four-legged or winged loved ones are inside. What happens if there’s a fire when you’re out? There will be no one to tell firefighters that the dog is in the garage.

We recommend that you save important documents and photos in the “cloud”— an offsite remote backup, so you can rest easy knowing that even if your computer is stolen or burned, your information is secure and accessible. Carbonite is an example of a reliable and affordable backup system for personal use. (It also gives you a free trial!)

So when your safety drills have worked and your family is out of the home, safe from the fire, please call us. We know how tragic it can be to have your home destroyed, even if your photos are backed up in a remote location. Let us help get your Orange County home restored as soon as possible!

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