Local fire agencies throughout Eagle County have joined together to launch a new program to share critical information on how best to prepare and protect private property in neighborhoods at risk for wildfire. A series of community preparedness meetings have been scheduled throughout July to introduce the “Ready, Set, Go!” initiative, a national program developed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The first session will be hosted by Vail Fire & Emergency Services and will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 2 at the West Vail Fire Station.
Fire Chief Mark Miller says the meeting will provide information on defensible space, ember awareness, evacuation kits and evacuation plans, wildland vehicles and response, along with other steps that are outlined in the comprehensive Firewise program at www.firewise.org. The session is free and community members from throughout Eagle County are welcome to attend. To RSVP, please contact Chief Miller at 479-2250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other preparedness meetings will take place in Gypsum on July 9, Eagle on July 11, Avon on July 16 and Edwards on July 23. In addition to Vail Fire, other sponsors include Eagle County, Eagle River Fire Protection District, Greater Eagle Fire District, Gypsum Fire Protection District, Colorado State University Extension Office and SteamMaster.
Ready, Set, Go! is a three-step process that shows homeowners how to create an action plan to create a defensible space, how to prepare for a possible evacuation and to understand how the evacuation process works:.
- Ready – Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildfire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Make sure all residents residing within the home are on the same page, plan escape routes.
- Set – Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Stay abreast of the latest alerts. Sign up for ECAlert.org for emergency notification.
- Go – Leave early! Following your action plan makes you prepared at this step of the process. Firefighters are now able to best maneuver the wildfire and ensure you and your family’s safety.
In addition to the Ready, Set, Go! meetings, Vail Fire & Emergency Services provides free assessments on an ongoing basis to assist property owners in creating a defensible space around their homes. To schedule a visit, contact Tom Talbot, wildland division coordinator, at 477-3509.
For additional information on these and other preparedness programs, contact Chief Miller at 479-2250 or Eagle County Wildfire Mitigation Manager Eric Lovgren at 328-8742.