Commentary: Reminders about emergency preparedness


The City of Atascadero is committed to ensuring the safety of all those living in and visiting our beautiful community. With little to no measurable rainfall to date, our local wildland fire fuel sources have become extremely flammable. The devastating wildland fires currently raging to both the north and south of us are an important reminder to be extra vigilant. Furthermore, once the much-needed rainfall does arrive, we also need to be ready for possible significant runoff by taking stormwater preparedness measures. Please follow these simple reminders to help keep everyone in our community safe:

Be sure to keep roofs and gutters clean; maintain 100-foot clearance of weeds and grasses from around structures as well as a 10-foot clearance on driveways. Keep shrubs and brush cleared from structures at a distance of at least 30 feet or more.

Never leave your stove or oven unattended. Be sure to place candles well away from flammable materials in non-tip candle holders, and never leave lit candles unattended; always make sure they are out of the reach of children. Before buying a Christmas tree, be sure to test it for freshness. If needles fall or can be pulled off easily, the tree is too dry. Once you get a fresh tree home, place it well away from heater vents and the fireplace; keep it as fresh as possible by watering it often and once it becomes dry, take it down. Smoke detectors are inexpensive, easy to install, and they save lives; remember to test them and ensure that they have fresh batteries.

In addition, prepare for what we hope will be a good rainy season by checking and clearing all culverts and drains under driveways or elsewhere on your personal property. Trim low-hanging branches from over your home or that overhang the roadway to allow for clear passage of vehicles. Do not blow leaves and grasses into streets, ditches, ponds or other waterways, as the debris will plug inlets and pipes, increasing the risk for localized flooding. Clear and check the proper operation of all gutters and downspouts, and use a downspout extension to direct water away from your home. Install gutter guards if debris is a problem. Before storms arrive, have sandbags ready if needed. Be aware that following significant drought, many trees are very vulnerable to breakage and falling during inclement weather. If you notice unusual localized flooding of streets, call dispatch at 805-461-5051 right away.

Be ready for emergencies caused by fire, storms or other natural disasters. Check your flashlights and batteries. Have plenty of non-perishable food and water on hand. Call 911 in an emergency. Remember to register your cell phone number with the SLO County Sheriff’s office to receive automatic emergency notifications or evacuation information.

On behalf of the City and all of our first responders, we want everyone to safely enjoy all of the gatherings and events the upcoming holiday season will bring.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this or any other topic concerning the City, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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