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When a wildfire breaks out, are you prepared to evacuate? - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

When a wildfire breaks out, are you prepared to evacuate?

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It is National Fire Prevention Week and with wildfires still a major threat, firefighters are urging everyone to have a plan. 
 
It's been more than a week since the Rucker Fire burned dangerously close to homes in Mission Hills near Lompoc.
 
"Definitely changed how much more prepared we need to be. We may have been prepared more than some but it still wasn't enough," said Richard Williams, a Rucker Fire evacuee. 
 
Roy Beydler and his wife were evacuated the day the fire broke out. They said they didn't have much prepared and there wasn't enough time to grab everything they needed. 
 
"It came over so fast we weren't expecting it, you know. It actually goes down to where a person really should have a suitcase fixed out, you know, with what you need," said Beydler. 
 
The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management recommends all families have a plan and prepare ahead of time. 
 
They suggest having a kit ready to go with important documentation such as birth certificates and passports, plus any prescribed medications. 
 
Emergency Manager Ryan McMahon says the best way to be prepared is by being aware. He recommends all Santa Barbara County residents sign up for alerts.
 
"You go to www.awareandprepare.org. (It) brings you to the home page and right here click the big red box that says 'Register For Alerts,'" McMahon explained. 
 
You are able to choose what kind of alerts you want to receive, whether it's through email or text message. 
 
To sign up for alerts in San Luis Obispo County, visit the Sheriff's Office website
 
"You want to have an evacuation plan. What are some ways to get out of your house? What are some ways to get out of your neighborhood? You always want more than one and then also a communication plan, cause sometimes when disaster's struck, you are not with your family. Where is a primary meeting spot? Where is a secondary spot?" McMahon added. "If you take a few minutes now to really talk through that plan, then things are a lot easier in a very chaotic situation." 
 
The Beydler's now have two suitcases ready to go, one with important paperwork and the other full of medication, just in case. 
 
"Have it aside and just throw it on the car and go," Beydler said. 
 
Officials also recommend having an evacuation plan for pets and large animals.

And, just as important as having a plan, they say you need to practice it. 
 

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