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Ready, Set, Go!

Southern Oregon now faces extreme fire conditions. As such, fires may quickly overwhelm local firefighting crews, forcing community members to move to safety at a moment’s notice.

Several years ago we introduced the evacuation and preparedness program: Ready, Set, Go! The program has been adopted by local emergency service agencies and will be part of our emergency response system for years to come.

Ready, Set, Go! can be used for any emergency, not just for fires. Incident commanders as well as the media will be referring to it when evacuations have been ordered.

The Ready level, also known as green Level 1, means you should be prepared. The Set level, or yellow Level 2, means you are aware of what is occurring in your area and are ready to leave at a moment’s notice. The Go! level, or red Level 3, means you must leave immediately.

Ready – Being prepared is always important, but particularly so to Ashland residents during the hot summer months. You do not have to live among the trees to be at risk. A swift-moving brush and grass fire has just as much potential as a forest fire to cause extensive fire damage. We recommend that all residents of Ashland Be Ready throughout each fire season.

Be prepared by having a “go kit” with essential basic items such as food, water, face masks, medications, vital documents or data, chargers, etc. — enough for several days away from home. Have this kit in a location that is known by all family members and can be quickly accessed if you need to leave home.

It is also important to have a communication plan known to all family members. How will you communicate if you’re not together if an evacuation is ordered? Discuss this ahead of time. Remember it is better to text than to talk during an emergency. Create and practice an evacuation plan with all family members. Where will you meet after evacuating? You should determine a local and regional place to meet. Don’t forget your pet’s needs.

Set - Know the current fire conditions and weather forecast. In Ashland you can listen to emergency updates on your radio at 1700 AM. You can also call the Wildfire and Smoke Hotline at 541-552-2490. In addition, every citizen in Ashland should sign up for Nixle, the city’s emergency notification system. To sign up for Nixle, type 97520 in the message line on your cellphone and text it to 888777. You can also register on the Nixle website via the city’s webpage.

Go! – Leave immediately. Assuming you have planned accordingly, you should now swiftly and safely evacuate the area as advised. An evacuation order may only have time to be given once, so please do not wait for any additional information.

Remember:

Level 1, Green, Ready!

Level 2, Yellow, Set!

Level 3, Red, Go!

Ashland fire Chief David Shepherd can be emailed at david.shepherd@ashland.or.us