Tahoe chief’s corner: It’s important to have an emergency plan | SierraSun.com

Tahoe chief’s corner: It’s important to have an emergency plan

Mike Brown
Special to the Bonanza
Mike Brown

LAKE TAHOE — September is National Preparedness Month. We are encouraging everyone to participate in the theme, “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”

Now is a great time to make an emergency communication plan for your family. This month, we hope that you will spend time together with your family and talk about how you will contact each other and where you will meet should disaster strike.

Prior to a disaster, each family must have a plan. You can begin this process by gathering family members and making sure each person is well informed on potential hazards and community plans.

Discuss with them what you would do if family members are not home when a warning is issued. Additionally, your family plan should address the following:

Escape Routes: Draw a floor plan of your home. Use a blank sheet of paper for each floor. Mark two escape routes from each room. Make sure children understand the drawings. Post a copy of the drawings at eye level in each child’s room.

Meeting Places: Establish a place to meet in the event of an emergency and evacuation. For example, if near the home, a good meeting place would be the next-door neighbor’s telephone pole. Or, if outside the immediate area, the neighborhood grocery store parking lot may be a good place.

Evacuation Plans: When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media, door-to-door notification or citizen telephonic notification system such as Code Red. To register and receive alerts via email, cell phone, text messaging, go to http://www.readywashoe.com. You can also download Code Red application on your cell phone. You can also tune to 780 KOH AM radio.

Additionally, there may be circumstances under which you and your family feel threatened or endangered and you need to leave your home, school, or workplace to avoid these situations.

The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. Many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential.

Next week we will focus on the rest of the steps necessary to complete the “make a plan” process.

“Chief’s Corner” is a regular feature in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Brown, offering information, tips and educational material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.