Helpful Hints to Prevent Fires and Prepare for Emergencies
By Councilman Todd Gloria
After two notable canyon fires in District 3 in the last month and an unprecedented region-wide blackout, it is imperative that all neighbors remember fire prevention tips and emergency preparedness measures.
Many canyons intertwine the dense, urban neighborhoods of District 3. While they can provide open space, recreation opportunities and lush vegetation, they are also prone to fire danger. In addition to keeping at least 100 feet of defensible space around your home, you should report any signs of smoke or fire by calling 911 and report any questionable activity in canyons to the San Diego Police Department, (619) 531-2000.
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department has a wealth of resources available about canyon fire safety and brush management on its Website (sandiego.gov/fireandems/inspections/brush.shtml).
With year-round threats of fires and earthquakes, we should all be prepared for emergencies. It was obvious from the widespread blackout of Sept. 8 that some are more prepared than others. Information about emergency preparedness is available at ready.gov/america/getakit/index.html.
Here are some additional items that bear repeating:
• In any emergency, stay off of the telephone unless it is necessary. Cell phone and traditional phone lines must remain open for emergency workers. Other communication should be done through text and e-mail.
•If you do not have landline phone access, have an extra cell phone battery and car charger.
• Call 911 ONLY for emergencies.
• “Like” local news sites on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for real-time updates that may be accessible without television.
•Have a battery-powered or hand-crank radio at your home and office.
• Have options to boil water to ensure its safety.
• If you lose power, food in your refrigerator may be safe for six-10 hours. Items with high levels of protein may only remain safe for four hours. If in doubt, throw it out.
• When driving, flashing red or completely dark traffic signals should be treated as stop signs.
• Always move safely to the right of the road when any emergency vehicle is approaching with lights and sirens.
• Know where your gas shut off valve is and how to turn it off.
• Most importantly, stay calm, be patient and care for one another.