Comprehensive Family Emergency Plan

A Comprehensive Plan

This is a “working document,” meant to be filled in by you, and then to be used as an assignment and check-off list.

When to Evacuate: 
  • If you are advised to leave, don’t hesitate to avoid being caught in fire, smoke, or road congestion.!  Evacuating early also helps firefighters and keeps roads clear of congestion. 
  • Know your evacuation zone.  My Evacuation Zone _____.  To find your zone visit: 

  • In an intense wildfire, first responders may not have time to knock on every door.  Save them time by posting your door hangers, and assure they are securely affixed (due to winds).
  • Sign up for Alerts:  Nixle; Code RED SoCoAlert; NOAA weather/hazard alerts via a public alert certified radio (See “V.” below)
  • Stay informed: KSRO, Santa Rosa @ 1350 AM & 103.5 FM, Lynda Hopkins Facebook page (need link) and…???

NOTE: The Occidental Fire Station wildfire siren alert signal is a buildup to a single, steady level for a 3-minute duration (subject to change).  Sheriff vehicles will sound a unique high-low European siren.

Your Customized Evacuation Plans

Create an evacuation plan that includes:

  • A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire area.  Choose two meeting places: 

1. A place a safe distance from your home for a home fire:

2. A place outside the evacuation zone(s) for a wildfire:

  • Several different escape routes from your home and community (See “VII.”). 

Also, refer to the Neighborhood Groups evacuation plan for your area.

  • An evacuation plan for pets and livestock
  • A communications plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single communication source/hub among family members in case of separation (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others.  Landline phones and/or cell towers, and/or broadband systems may become overloaded, limited, or damaged during a disaster.)
  • Showing responsible family members and neighbors how to shut off propane
  • Keeping a sturdy pair of boots (ideally) or shoes, and a flashlight, near your bed at all times
  • Pre-assigning duties among family members for “I.” through “VI.” below (See “V.”)
  • Assuring that all family members know how to “stop, drop, and roll” if clothes catch fire
  • Practicing what you decide to do

I.   Inside the home:

  • “Go Kit(s):” Place into your vehicle ASAP.
  • Shut all windows and doors (interior too), and leave them unlocked.
  • Shut off all gas pilot lights.
  • Leave both indoor and outdoor lights on for firefighters and emergency vehicles.
  • Shut off air conditioning and house fans.
  • Remove combustible window shades and lightweight curtains.
  • Close fire-resistant drapes.
  • Move over-stuffed furniture (like couches) to the center of the rooms, away from windows.

II.  Outside the home:

  • Sound your CO2 air horn(s) to alert neighbors: Three, 3-second blasts w. 1-sec. separations
  • Unlock and prop open gates.
  • Back your vehicle into the garage or driveway so it is facing out, and with all doors and windows closed.  Keep ignition keys on your person, so as not to accidently lock them in the vehicle.
  • Disconnect electric garage door opener so door can be manually operated.
  • Remove combustible items from outside the home and outbuildings and place them either inside or far away.  (Including: door mats, patio furniture, toys, trash cans, portable propane tanks, and any firewood within 10 feet of any structure.)
  • Connect garden hoses to hose bibs for firefighters to use.  Attach squeeze grip nozzles to hoses.
  • Close propane tank valve at the tank.
  • Fill water buckets and place them around the outside of the house, especially near decks and combustible fences.
  • Connect garden hoses to exterior hose bibs.
  • Place non-combustible ladder(s) (aluminum or fiberglass) at the corners of structures for firefighters to access roofs.  Do the same for any water storage tank(s) so the manway (lid) is easily accessible.
  • Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation.
  • Check on or call your neighbors to assure they are aware and prepared to evacuate.
  • If fuel is on site, add to vehicle if needed and if time permits.
  • Post your “Evacuated/Occupied” door hangers or your “Help Needed” door hangers on all main exterior doors and secure them so they cannot blow away. 
  • Assure that your driveway(s) are clear and unobstructed.
  • Just before evacuating:  If your eves or roofs have a fire sprinkler system, turn it /them on.
If time permits:
  • Clean your roofs and gutters. Blow/rake/sweep leaves away from structures. 
  • Just before evacuating:  Spray a fire retardant on windows to prevent them from exploding.
  • Alternatively:  Cover windows and combustible siding with temporary, non-flammable wraps.
  • Alternatively:  Cover windows, attic openings, and vents with either precut plywood (at least ½ inch thick) or with metal covers.

III.  On your person:

  • All family members: long sleeves and long pants.  (Heavy cotton or wool is preferable.)
  • Sturdy pair of boots (ideally) or shoes
  • Wear leather gloves, helmet (with brim), and eye protection (ideally full coverage goggles).
  • Cover your face with a N95 respirator (or better), a dry bandanna, or (cotton or wool) scarf.
  • Carry a headlamp, flashlight (even during the day), and cell phone
  • Carry car keys, wallet, and driver’s license (or other ID).
  • Cash, plus credit, debit, and ATM cards
  • Water (stay hydrated)

IV.  In your vehicle (at all times):

 Small shovel or collapsible shovel

 Class A or Class AC fire extinguisher (ideally 5 lb.)

V.  Wildfire & Emergency “Go Kit” items:

  • “Fresh,” disposable, dated, CO2 air horn(s).  Keep handy at all times.
  • N95 respirators, or better, plus additional masks during any pandemic
  • Goggles, leather gloves
  • Fire-style safety helmet with wide brim (ideally outfitted with a clip-on flashlight)
  • Flashlight and headlamp
  • Water bottles and food that does not need cooking (a three day non-perishable supply/person)
  • Map with marked evacuation routes (See “VII.” below.)
  • Prescription medicines
  • Extra glasses or contact lenses
  • Extra set of vehicle keys and credit cards
  • Cash & checkbook.
  • First aid kit, including burn dressings and burn ointment
  • Change of clothing and wool blanket
  • Important documents (birth certificates, passports, insurance policies, trust docs, etc.)
  • Battery-powered weather/all hazard NOAA & public alert certified radio.  Enter/program:

Sonoma Co. SAME # 006097.  NOAA weather radio Channel 4: WZ2504 @ 162.475 Mhz

     Alternate option: battery-powered radio

  • For pets:  food, leashes, tags, supplies, and medication (See Addendum for more details.)
  • Cell phone(s)
  • Spare chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
  • Extra batteries for:  Flashlight, headlamp, and radio
  • Home inventory list, and/or photos, and/or video recording.  Consider placing this information on a memory card.  (Keep a copy of this off site and/or consider cloud storage.)
  • Photos or video of the home exterior, landscape, and any outbuildings
  • Sanitation supplies, including hand sanitizer during any pandemic
  • Address book & emergency contact cards for each family member
  • Copy of this evacuation plan for each family member with each box color-coded, thereby assigning tasks (by color) to each person.

VI.  Things not to do:

  • Do not leave lawn sprinklers on.  They are ineffective and can reduce critical water pressure.
  • Do not hose your roof down.  It is dangerous, ineffective, and wastes time and water. 

VII.   Items to take if time permits:

  • Easily carried valuables (Make a list here.)
  • Important photos or other irreplaceable items/heirlooms (Make a list here.)
  • Computer(s) and digital backups (on hard drives/flash drives and/or discs). List here:

VIII.  Evacuation routes from your home (Show at least 2 for each wind direction)

Plan A:  If wildfire is coming from the north or northeast:

                    Route 1:

        Route 2:

Plan B:  If wildfire is coming from the west:

                    Route 1:

        Route 2:

Plan C:

IX.  What to do if you become trapped near a wildfire…

A.  While in your home:

  • Stay calm and keep your family together.
  • Call 911 and inform authorities of your location.
  • Fill sinks, tubs, and buckets with cold water.
  • Stay inside your house.
  • Stay away from exterior walls and windows.

B. While in your vehicle:

  • Stay calm and stay in your vehicle.
  • Park your vehicle in an area clear of vegetation.
  • Close all vehicle windows and vents. 
  • Turn on headlights and emergency flashers to make vehicle visible in heavy smoke.
  • Use your cell phone to contact authorities:  Call 911
  • Cover yourself with a wool blanket or jacket.
  • Lie on the vehicle floor.

C. While on foot:

  • Stay calm and stay together.
  • Try to stay on level ground.
  • Go to an area clear of vegetation.  If possible, seek a ditch or depression.
  • Use your cell phone to contact authorities:  Call 911
  • Lie face down and cover yourself with a wool blanket or jacket.

Post this list in a conspicuous location, and also place a copy in each “Go Kit” (for each person to use as a check-off list prior to evacuating).
At a minimum, review your plan ahead of each fire season.