Community Wildfire Preparedness & Planning Resources
Learn about upcoming free wildfire and emergency safety trainings, online tools and more
With wildfire season here, this blog provides preparedness and community planning resources to stay informed, be safe, and protect your family and homes before, during and after a wildfire. Free trainings are available to gain safety tips and online tools are combined here in one place for the community to learn more and take action.
COMMUNITYWIDE SAFETY RESOURCES
For the general public, whether you live in the Palo Alto hills west of 280 or other neighborhoods, it is important to stay informed during surrounding wildfires to track air quality, and other community concerns. Stay up to date by following with the City on social media, download the City’s evacuation map (for areas west of 280), sign up for emergency alerts and the Palo Alto Police Department Nixle, and more. Go here for these resources.
Top four tips to stay up to date on wildfire impacts or other safety concerns:
- Sign-up for Santa Clara County Emergency Alerts
- Follow the Palo Alto Police on Twitter and sign-up for Nixle
- Follow the City on Twitter, Facebook and Nextdoor
- Sign-up for the City’s newsletter
View and Download: Evacuation Route Map (Palo Alto Hills, west of 280 areas). While the City owns its own Utility, it relies on Pacific, Gas & Electric (PG&E) to gain power. Recently PG&E reported its plans to use Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) to help mitigate wildfire risk and tracking this is important for Palo Alto as well.
For online resources related to this and other impacts, go here.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Trainings Start Sept. 6
A wonderful way to give back to the community is to take part in Palo Alto’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). This team is part of a national program designed to prepare Palo Alto residents to help themselves, their families, and their neighbors in the event of a disaster. The free training for Palo Alto and Stanford University citizens, which starts Sept. 6, covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. This includes disaster fire suppression techniques, earthquake awareness, disaster medical operations, first aid/CPR, light search-and-rescue, as well as team organization and management. CERT training culminates with a disaster simulation and comprehensive course review.
The course will emphasize hands-on practice in person so that following a disaster, such as a major wildfire, CERT teams can demonstrate an effective response capability. Important dates for the program, which take place at Mitchell Park Community Center, Adobe Room, 3700 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303, include:
- CERT Basic Training beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, 6:30–9:30 p.m.
- In person classes Sept. 8, 13, 15, 20, 22 from 6:30–9:30 p.m.
- Field Day on Sunday, Sept. 25, noon–4 p.m.
Attendance of all classes is required. Registration is highly recommended for these popular courses. Register here.
For other community preparedness resources, go here.
PROPERTY OWNER SAFETY PREPAREDNESS RESOURCES
Wondering what you can do to stay safe during wildfire season, which runs officially from June through October? The following resources are for property owns to help plan and be ready in case a wildfire occurs in our areas or surrounding areas.
To help residents and businesses navigate how they can prepare their property, the Santa Clara County Fire Department is hosting two free Wildfire Preparedness: Ready, Set, Go Webinars on August 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and Sept. 24 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. During the webinars, you’ll learn how to:
Get your home READY by creating defensible space to buffer it from flammable vegetation such as grass, trees and shrubs. Defensible space increases the chance of your home surviving a wildfire.
SET your family up to be prepared for wildfires and other disasters by creating an action plan that will help you survive and communicate if you must evacuate your home.
Be ready to GO. Take the evacuation steps necessary to give your household the best chance of surviving a wildfire.
The event will also include information on red flag warnings, making your property more fire resistant, and more.
Other Free Wildfire Safety Resources
If you can’t make the trainings, here are additional resources you can take advantage of to keep you, your loved ones and property safe.
Getting READY with Planning and Mitigation Resources
While we recommend planning for wildfire season in the spring, it’s never too late to start taking even small steps to stay safe and mitigate risks if you are a property owner in the foothills area west of 280. Below are some planning resources to help make it easier to get started.
Create Your Wildfire Preparedness Plan with Cal-Fire App
Create your own customized Wildfire Preparedness Action Plan with Cal-Fire’s web-based app, which includes:
- Personalized checklists that can help make your property wildfire resistant
- Evacuation checklist to help keep you safe.
- Updates on current fire incidents.
- Chance to sign up for text updates on local wildfires.
Plan Evacuation Routes with Palo Alto Wildfire Planning Map
It’s a good idea to become familiar with various evacuation routes from your property before you’re under the stress of an actual wildfire emergency. The Palo Alto Wildfire Planning Map helps you plan for various routes and find nearby safety zones in the event you can’t evacuate. Check out the map here, as well as helpful videos and information on when to evacuate, what to do if someone is trapped, and other tips.
The City also offers an evacuation map that is downloadable for those in the Palo Alto hills area west of 280 and other online resources to track regional fires that could impact air quality and other community impacts in Palo Alto. Go here for details.
Get READY by Creating Defensible Space
See helpful videos and information on creating a defensible space against wildfires:
- Hardening your home by using fire resistant building materials.
- Find a low-cost retrofit list and guide and create a custom checklist for your needs here.
- Removing easily ignited dead plants, grass and weeds to avoid flying embers and help firefighters have a safe place to battle flames.
Get SET and GO When It’s Time with Evacuation Resources
Evacuation Guide & Tips
It’s important to leave when fire officials recommend you evacuate, if not before. Check out this GET SET guide to help you make sure evacuation plans before an emergency strikes and you need to leave imminently. This includes how to create an Evacuation Checklist and Emergency Supply Kit, and talk with neighbors about how to communicate and support each other in emergencies.
After that use the GO guide which covers how to:
- Review your Evacuation Checklist.
- Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is in your vehicle.
- Cover up to protect against heat and flying embers.
- Locate your pets and take them with you.
- Stay safe if you become trapped.
- Return home when it’s safe.
Visit the Palo Alto Fire Department’s Wildfire Ready, Set, Go page for more information and resources, including a helpful overview video of all you can do to prepare.
More Online Resources
- NWS: Watches, Warnings, or Advisories for Santa Clara County
- Sign up to receive Nixle alerts here.
- CAL FIRE: Current Fire Map
- For regional wildfire alerts and other resources go here.
- Sign up for Emergency Alerts
- Stay connected & informed Palo Alto Utilities: Wildfire Safety
- Palo Alto Utilities: Public Safety Power Shutdown
- Download: Evacuation Route Map (Palo Alto Hills, west of 280 areas)