Santa Anas spur calls for caution

As Santa Ana winds blew through San Diego last week, the Rancho Santa Fe Association thought it was a good time as any to continue to remind residents about fire safety. The board will soon send out mailers to residents about emergency procedures and safety tips, similar to those they sent in 2007.

“The possibility of fire scares me half to death,” said Bill Beckman, board president. “It’s frightening and I don’t think we can be over diligent on this issue.”

Rancho Santa Fe is coming up on the two-year anniversary of the Witch Creek Fire when residents were evacuated and 21 Covenant homes were lost.

“We’ve seen a lot of improvement in the area of defensible space and awareness,” Beckman said, but noted it is still in homeowners’ hands to take the necessary steps to protect their homes and the community as a whole.

Before disaster strikes

  • Keep 100 feet of defensible space around your home
  • Remove leaves and other debris from roof and rain gutters
  • Thin out combustible vegetation within 30 feet of roadways and driveways
  • Keep firewood stacked a minimum of 30-feet from structures
  • Dispose of yard clippings, trash, debris and other combustible materials in an appropriate manner

Developing an emergency plan

  • Identify at least two exit routes from your neighborhood
  • Know the location of safe zones and evacuation centers
  • Make a list of important items that can’t be left behind
  • Prepare a emergency supply kit
  • Consider how you will transport your pets
  • Make a contingency plan should you not be at home when wildfire threatens
  • Register all phone numbers and e-mail addresses with Alert San Diego, the mass emergency notification system at alertsandiego.org

Evacuation tips
If threat is not imminent and you have adequate time before you leave:

  • Gather irreplaceable items and load them in car parked in the driveway, facing the street
  • Evacuate when directed by safety personnel or when you no longer feel safe
  • Leave the alarm on
  • Leave entry gate in open position
  • Turn off gas, air conditioner
  • Move flammable furniture away from windows and open drapes or flammable window coverings
  • Move flammable items away from exterior of house
  • The Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District recommends leaving one door unlocked so firefighters can gain access, many police agencies recommend locking all windows and doors

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