With all of its beauty and wonderful outdoor and cultural activities, Coloradoans need to play defense when it comes to wildfire.
Though many of us will never be impacted, it’s in our own best interest to spend a short period of time now to prepare for evacuation and be ready to take immediate action. Following are guidelines for evacuation preparedness, published by the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, Ready.gov, a national public service campaign designed to educate and empower preparedness, and the Insurance Information Institute, an online source for insurance information.
Create a household plan to stay in touch if you are separated. Pre-arrange a designated place to meet that is specific. For example, “meet at the fountain in front of the Boulder County Courthouse on Pearl Street” not “meet at the courthouse.” Make your meeting location relevant and accessible to your household. Take everyone to that location so you all know the area specified. Ask an out-of-town friend or family member to act as a contact person for your family.
Map out your primary routes and backup routes to your evacuation destinations. Try to have a physical map of the area available in case GPS satellite transmissions are down or your devices run out of power.
Assemble supplies in a “go-bag” that can be carried if you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling longer distances if you have a car. Your ‘go bag’ might include:
• Prescriptions and other medicines
• First aid kit
• Bottled water
• Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries
• Clothing and bedding (sleeping bags, pillows)
• Special equipment for infants or elderly or disabled family members and “comfort items,” such as special toys for children
• Computer hard drive and laptop
• Cherished photographs
• Pet food and other items for pets (litter boxes, leashes)
• Important documents including prescriptions; birth and marriage certificate;, passports, driver license or personal identification; social security cards, insurance policies — homeowners, auto, life and any others; recent tax returns; employment information; wills and deeds; stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates; financial information such as bank, savings and retirement account numbers and recent tax returns; home inventory
Plan your exit route and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home or a motel.
If you have pets, identify a place to stay that will accept your furry family members. Make a “go-bag” for your pet that includes food, water, medication, veterinary records, litter box, can opener and an information sheet with your pet’s name and any behavior patterns or issues
The Boulder Office of Emergency Management recommends signing up to receive alerts at member.everbridge.net/453003085612231/login
Always follow the instructions of local officials.
Prepare your car
Keep your car’s gas tank at least half-full at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
Pack a portable emergency kit and keep it in your car. This is great preparedness for winter travel in Colorado, as well.
During an evacuation
Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
Grab your ‘go bag’ and leave early or as soon as notified and take your pets with you.
Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts, they may be blocked. Be alert for road hazards.
The Boulder Office of Emergency Management has a guide with checklists to help you prepare that you can find here assets: boulderoem.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Preparedness-Guide-2017.pdf
Now that you are prepared, enjoy Boulder County living
Once you’ve gotten your evacuation plans in order, you are all set to continue enjoying the magic Boulder County offers.
For the full lists visit ready.gov/evacuation and iii.org/article/preparing-effective-evacuation-plan and boulderoem.com.
By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, email Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620, or visit boulderco.com.