Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thoughts on the Southern California Fires

As of the latest news report this morning about 650 square miles of Southern California have burned. Along with this over 880,000 people have been forced to evacuate, the largest evac in California history. One person suspected of arson is in police custody.

Hopefully we can learn a few things from this tragedy:

  1. Building homes in an area prone to wildfires fanned by 100 MPH winds probably isn't a good idea.
  2. If you're going to ignore point 1, keep foliage well back from your home so there's something of a firebreak.
  3. Again, if you're going to ignore point 1, construct your home so it's fire-resistant, e.g, metal or terra cotta roof, concrete exterior, fire resistant eaves, and having a swimming pool or pond for the fire department to tap into, or at least a pump and hose so you can wet down the area.
  4. Have supplies handy so that you can bug out on short notice: water, food, extra clothes, N95 masks, etc. An encrypted USB flash drive with copies of important documents and contact lists would be very good to have. Keep your evacuation kit in boxes you can quickly put in your vehicle. The government recommends enough for 72 hours but at least a week is more realistic.
  5. You might need to camp somewhere. Have a tent big enough for your family, blankets or sleeping bags, and some means of cooking meals, like a Coleman stove.
  6. Don't let your vehicle's fuel tank get less than half full, and keep some extra gas or diesel on hand. It would suck and possibly be fatal to run out of gas.
  7. Have some form of alternate communications. The cellular phone system is taking hits from high usage and some towers burning. Have a CB radio in your vehicle, it's the most common two-way radio commo system for use on the road. Consider getting your ham radio license, too. In some areas of SoCal I'm informed that ham is the only reliable form of long distance commo right now.
  8. I haven't heard about any looting yet, but I won't be surprised to hear if they crawl out from under their rocks. The only realistic defense against these scum is an armed citizenry. Have a gun and the knowledge of when and how to use it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good Article. I live in the Midwest, Near a large pine/hardwood forest and all of those points apply here too.