Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wildfire! Why Evacuate Early? Oakland Hills Fire 1991

The constant drum of words continues to sing the song over and over from every Fire Department that has the threat of a wildfire in their community. EVACUATE and EVACUATE NOW!

So why do Firefighters stress the importance of evacuating early and not waiting to see if you can "Wait it Out"? Why don't we want you staying to try to protect your home? Because as Firefighters most of us have "Been There... Done That" sometime in our career. A wildfire is an ugly beast that you really don't want to meet.

The Oakland Hills Firestorm, October 21, 1991, Oakland, California. The fire ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres destroyed, included 2,843 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units.

This video will give you a pretty graphic example of the chaos, confusion that occurs during a wildfire. What you can't experience is the amount of heat that radiates hundreds of yards in front of the fire, the blowing embers that look like snow, yet sting like bees, or the inability to catch a breath because of the thick rancid smoke, and don't forget the burning eyes and complete loss of the ability to even open your eyes.

Now... Imagine being a Firefighter trying to get into a community to fight the fire, but you can't get in because people are stranded in their cars because the thick smoke has blocked the road or caused the engine to quit running. The Firefighters are trapped, burned over and injured, their lives changed forever.

Protect your community by letting us do our job. Prepare early. Leave early. If we can't protect your home, you can't protect your home. Don't risk your life or the life of a Firefighter by thinking you can stop a wildfire.


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