BRENTWOOD—On Wednesday, October 21, the Brentwood Home Owners Association held a town hall on fire safety and preparedness. Guest speakers for the event included West Bureau Commander, Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Armando Hogan and AlertWildfire and University of California, San Diego Dr. Neal Driscoll.
LAFD Chief Hogan discussed having a plan, being prepared, and act of doing. “Hillside communities within Los Angeles are under continuous threat with devastating wildfires. As the risk increases, It is important you protect yourself and your family by planning, preparing, and staying aware,” said Hogan. “You must have some sort of plan in case asked to evacuate that you and your family are all aware of in case of emergency and plans for if your family is not all together.”
When creating a plan individuals are informed to make sure that a selected meeting location outside of the hazardous area is determined. Always try to find the nearest exit within any location with multiple escape routes if possible. Have an evacuation plan for pets and a family communication plan. A family communication plan would be appointing a relative or friend out of the effected area as a point of contact in case evacuation has taken place.
When in the process of being prepared for an emergency a supply kit checklist can help keep organization throughout process.
“Don’t have the mindset you can just hop in your car and go, in some cases it’s not always that easy,” said Hogan. “When dealing with a foot evacuation a go bag would be your best bet. Have additional bags for friends and family everyone should have something that even you can carry incase needs be.”
A couple of items found in supply checklist include face masks, three gallons of water per person with a three-day supply of non-perishable foods, prescriptions or medications, change of clothes, extra glasses or contact lenses, extra set of car keys, credit cards, or cash, flash lights, battery operated radio, sanitation supplies, important documents, pet food/water, and cell phone chargers.
Flying debris from wildfires can damage homes from up to a mile away. Hardening one’s home is a good defensive technique when taking preventable measures from wildfires.
“Look up reviews on Yelp or Google of reckonable companies that provide such services to protect your home,” suggested Hogan.
When dealing with wildfires it is important to remember self-preparedness, family preparedness, then community preparedness. Once you have taken care of yourself then check in on family, then if permittable assist helping others.
Back in 2018, the worst wildfire was recorded in California in terms of loss of life and structures destroyed. The year 2020 has been recorded for the worst in terms of acres lost.
Hogan discussed the act of acting during an emergency. It is important to remember if you see smoke or fire in the region to take note of its location and call 911.
“Remember If you feel like you need to leave, go early give yourself time. It is possible you can even set LAFD alerts on your phone that will notify and give you a heads up. The LAFD alerts help communication between the firefighters and the general public, giving details such as where the fire is taking place and what direction it’s heading. You can even go as far as setting a distinctive ring tone to associate with the LAFD alerts, so when you hear that particular ring tone your fully aware of what’s going on and can act as soon as possible,” Hogan stated.
For the second half of the town hall, co-founder and ALERTWILDFIRE guest speaker Dr. Neal Driscoll joined in to elaborate on what precautions are being taken to protect the community and life around it from wildfires. Driscoll stressed that visuals are going to be key to helping locate and manage these wildfires before they become an even bigger issue. He explained how they have put up more than 600 cameras in various locations that will allow anyone to view images and live video with internet access at all times.
“The ALERTWILDFIRE network employs high definition HD PTZ axis cameras near- infrared detection. Microwave communication network for increased resilience. The network also provides unparalleled ability to confirm 911 calls, improve situational awareness, and help sequence evacuations,” said Driscoll.