Atascadero Fire Department offers tips to prevent wildfires
—The Atascadero Fire Department offered tips to the community on preventing wildfires and current emergency plans if a fire happens in Atascadero during the city council meeting on Feb. 27. Advice was broken down into three categories: pre-planning, public outreach, and fire response. The conversation focused on the high hazard area of the west side of Atascadero.
Fuel reduction is a major component for the pre-planning fire stage and is vital for firefighters to have a clear space to work if fire threatens a home. If large fuel dangers, such as fallen trees, are needing removal, citizens can contact the fire department, place the hazard on the side of the road and the department will come chip the hazard. Mandatory weed abatement is also important and the deadline is June 1, according to the presentation. Backyard burning has many requirements for community safety and should be used as a last resort.
In regards to Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, the Atascadero Fire Department is hosting an Open House on May 5. This event was held last year and over 500 people attended. The fire department utilizes the “Ready-Set-Go” program, created by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, which has guidelines for how to prepare a house against fire threats and understanding escape plans if a fire is approaching. Reverse 911 is a program in place for cell phones to receive an alert with emergency alerts, in addition to landlines. Cell phones can be registered at slosheriff.org, whereas landlines are automatically registered. The fire department is available to consult with residents with any questions about housing safety.
The fire department conducts training for firefighting, including annual refreshers, daily engine company training, physical fitness, and knowledge of the current resources for the fire climate in California. The firefighters also conduct fire simulations and plan how to fight a fire in different parts of town with a large map on the station wall. Public service announcements are utilized, as well. Mutual aid from San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles, Templeton and more are available for large fires.
Information about evacuation routes and plans are available at atascadero.org and through a chipping and weed abatement mailer. There are plans in place to conduct a drill with the various departments within the next year.