Ready at Home = Ready to Work
We*Ready Spring & Summer 2013
This Edition's Contents
You've already got a kit to protect yourself and your family (right?), but have you forgotten your best friend? Pets are important members of millions of families, and they need to be prepared for a disaster too! Keep these tips in mind from Ready.gov as you create your Pet Preparedness Plan:
- Know where you'll go. Most public shelters cannot accept pets due to health concerns. Resources like this website can help you find alternative, pet-friendly motels and hotels. Another option is to evacuate to a friend's or family members' house who can accommodate both you and your pet.
- Pet Survival Kit. Fido wants to eat too! Stock your kit with:
- Pet food
- Manual can opener
- Food dishes
- Bottled water
- Veterinary records and contact information
- Local animal shelter contact information
- Litter pan
- Photo of your pet in case you are separated
- Leash or harness (yes, even for cats. It may feel weird, but it's better than trying to hold your cat all day!)
- Pet carrier (Want to consolidate space? Store your Pet Survival Kit in your pet carrier! Pack an extra bag to hold the supplies when your pet needs to stay in the carrier.)
- Identification. Make sure all identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet's collar! This may be the only way to be reunited with your pet. Consider high-tech options as well, such as a microchip for your pet.
- Take your pets with you! It is unlikely they'll survive alone, and if they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
- If your ONLY option is to leave your pet behind:
- NEVER leave your pet chained outside
- Confine your pet to a safe area inside your home (if possible, keep dogs and cats separated, even if they are used to each other. Stress can make animals act irrationally).
- Set out plenty of food and water. If your animal can't regulate his/her own eating, consider purchasing a food dispenser that controls available food portions before the emergency.
- Remove the toilet lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so your pets can drink.
- Place a notice outside in a visable area advising pets are inside and where they are located. Include your name and contact information and the name and number of your vet.
- Sheltering in place?
- Bring in animals early. Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away.
- Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes.
- Separate dogs and cats. Even if they usually get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally.
- Lost pet? Sometimes, the unimaginable happens. Help locate Fido with this information from the Humane Society of the Unite States and these tips on how to make an effective pet recovery poster.
Have you heard about Santa Barbara County's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training? Last year the program was honored with the prestigious California Service Group of the Year Award by demonstrating an unwavering service commitment to our community, and here is your opportunity to get involved!
The CERT program was started by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985, and has taken off in cities across the nation. The goal of the program is to increase understanding of personal responsibility after a disaster and train citizens how to take care of themselves in emergency situations.
CERT classes cover the following topics:
- Disaster Preparedness: Instructs team members how to prepare themselves and their community for the various types of hazards that may occur.
- Fire Suppression: Covers fire chemistry, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies.
- Medical Operations: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstructions, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques. Covers evaluating patients, establishing a medical treatment area, and performing basic first aid.
- Light Search and Rescue: Participants learn light search and rescue planning, techniques, and rescuer safety.
- Team Organization and Disaster Psychology: Addresses CERT organization and management principles necessary for a CERT to operate successfully. Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker.
- Terrorism and Homeland Defense: Do's and don'ts during a terrorist act and homeland defense tips.
- Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants review the course and practice the skills that they have learned during the previous sessions in a disaster simulation.
CERT is a free program open to residents over 18 years of age. Trainings are offered all year long in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. You can find more information about the Santa Barbara CERT here. Interested in having CERT at Westmont? Let us know here!
The Springs Fire began quickly on Thursday, April 29, and threatened homes from the 101 to Pacific Coast Highway. After charring 28,000 acres and burning for four days, the wildfire was finally contained. The fire damaged 15 homes, but none were destroyed. How? Defensible Space! Watch this report by KEYT supporting this practice (here's a link to one of the documents John Palminteri mentions at the end: Ready! Set! Go!).
Montecito Fire has specific instructions for Montecito residents, and gives good instructions for everyone in their Living With Wildfire packet. Here's a quick run down of their instructions. Check out the packet for complete instructions and helpful illustrations!
Determine defensible space area
- Figure out how much space you really need. The minimum recommended area is 30 feet for homes on a flat to gently sloping hill with grass and up to 200 feet for homes on very steep hills in forested areas.
Remove dead vegetation
- Dead vegetation includes dead trees and shrubs, dead branches on the ground or still attached to living plants, dried grasses, weeds, dead flowers, dropped leaves and needles.
Break up continuous dense cover of shrubs or trees
- The more continuous and dense the layer of vegetation around your home, the greater the wildfire threat.
Remove ladder fuels
- Vegetation that allows fire to move from lower growing plants to taller ones is referred to as "ladder fuel." A vertical separation of three times the height of the lower fuel layer is recommended.
Provide 30 ft. of "Lean, Clean and Green" Landscaping
- Lean - small amount of flammable vegetation
- Clean - no accumulation of dead vegetation or flammable debris
- Green - plants kept healthy and green during fire season
Complete vegetation clearance on driveways and streets
- You want at least 14 feet of vertical clearance and 10 feet of horizontal distance. Can a fire truck easily get up your driveway or street?
Annual maintenance of defensible space
- This is an ongoing project. Don't give up!
- Clean dead leaves and needles from your roof and gutters.
- Propane tanks should be at least 30 feet from any structure and have 10 feet of vegetation clearance.
- Use green recycle options whenever possible.
- Contact your local fire department to determine your jurisdiction's requirements for defensible space.
We cannot stop natural disasters, but we can arm ourselves with knowledge.
-Petra Nemcova, Czech model & philantropist, survivor of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami