Chief’s Corner: In 2019, Resolve to be Ready

Submitted to Sierra Sun

As we consider setting New Year’s Resolutions for 2019, North Tahoe Fire and Meeks Bay Fire are asking families to Resolve to be Ready for any emergency.

Traditionally families use New Year’s Resolutions as an opportunity to develop healthy habits.

“That is exactly what we are asking you and your loved ones to do; we are asking each member of your family to develop and practice readiness habits that will help you survive a disaster,” said Fire Chief Michael Schwartz. “Now is the time to think through the risks in your home and community, any special accessibility considerations your loved ones may have, and then prepare, plan and practice the preparedness actions needed to give you the best chance to survive the risks that face our community. Plan how to get the information you need if power is out, cell towers are down, or there is no internet access.”

Schwartz shared a disturbing trend he’s hearing locally after problems with the Camp Fire evacuations, hearing comments such as “We’ll just take a canoe and head to the lake”’ when discussions turn to evacuation preparedness and planning.

“Disasters like we are seeing in California tend to happen during high wind events, day or night,” Schwartz said. “The lake is not where you want to be when the wind is blowing 75 mph. You can’t ‘wait out’ a disaster like Paradise, you need to be prepared to follow the instructions you are given, and leave as soon as you sense there is danger. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order.

“Be prepared to save yourself, with neighbors helping neighbors, and be prepared to survive at least 72 hours without any assistance as it takes time for FEMA to deploy resources after a disaster. Sitting in a canoe is not a strategy for survival. Please, take this seriously and make the resolution with your loved ones to be ready for disaster. Families need to be prepared for disasters such as power outage, avalanche, landslide, flood, home fire, wildfire, earthquake and tsunami. Preparation takes repeated practice with the whole family, including pets.”

For additional ways you can Resolve to be Ready, visit

Erin Holland is the Public Information Officer with North Tahoe Fire. Contact her at or 530-308-1158.

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