CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Fire season is approaching and residents aboard base should know about some emergency preparedness guidelines, from setting up communications and pre-evacuation checklists to signing up for an emergency alert notification system.
Camp Pendleton firefighters extinguish approximately 300 wildland fires on base annually. More than 24,062 acres of land burned last year, which is twice as much as in 2013, according to Robert Johnson, Deputy Chief for Fire Prevention at Camp Pendleton’s Security & Emergency Services Station.
Family Communication Plan
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency at http://www.ready.gov/family-communications, a Family Communication Plan can help disseminate information between family and relatives in the event of an emergency such as a wildland fire. Here are a few pointers:
• Designate an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.
• Ensure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. In case of an emergency where you are incapacitated, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
• Teach family members how to use text messaging (also known as SMS or Short Message Service). Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
Emergency Notification Procedures
According to Johnson, the emergency notification systems available on base provide additional details on procedures in the event of a fire. The Camp Pendleton Fire Department and off-base fire departments may come together to combat the fire based on its scale and intensity.
The Camp Pendleton Fire Department advises residents to pay attention to the notification system, commonly known as the “Giant Voice”, as well as the text and e-mail based Emergency Notification System, to remain up to date on the conditions of the fire and the evacuation plan from the Emergency Operations Center. Mass warning systems differ based on location. It could be the "Giant Voice" outside speaker, sirens, a telephone alert, or some other system.
The Emergency Notification System provides updates on your mobile phone and/or e-mail at: http://entry.inspironlogistics.com/camp_pendleton/wens.cfm
Pre-Evacuation Checklist and Evacuation Tips
In the event of an emergency, an evacuation checklist helps residents to move out as quickly as possible and simultaneously ensure that they have everything they need for the evacuation center. Here is a pre-evacuation checklist from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s website at http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/Evacuation.pdf
• Critical medications
• Important personal papers, photos, etc.
• Essential valuables.
• Pet and livestock transport, limited amount of pet food
• Change of clothing, toiletries, etc.
• Cell phone
• Critical papers and effects in a fire proof safe
• An Evacuation Route Map with at least two routes (in this case to a possible Emergency Evacuation Center like the Paige Fieldhouse)
• Drive your planned route of escape before an actual emergency.
To learn out more about how to prevent wildland fires and decrease their risk of spreading, please visit the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection at http://www.fire.ca.gov/