Man About Menifee: Fires Remind Us to Be Prepared

By David Baker

Every area of the world has its own geographical concerns residents must face. From extreme cold and heat to wind, rain and fire, wherever you live, it pays to be prepared and know what to expect.

Here in Southern California, we must endure and be prepared for wildfires and earthquakes. This means a lot more than the typical stop-drop-and-roll or duck and cover that we learn in school. With recent fires in Idyllwild and Murrieta and temperatures reaching their peaks, it is clear that fire season is upon us. We even had a small brush fire by my house near La Ladera Park.

Here are some simple steps you and your family can take in the event of such a disaster:
1. In the event of a house fire, have a predetermined meeting place, just in case people get separated. This can be a friend’s or neighbor’s house, a neighborhood landmark or possibly a park. It shouldn’t be too far, but it should be far enough to be out of the way of fire crews and flames.

2. If a wildfire is in your area and you know that evacuation could be a possibility, keep valuables, picture albums, or anything else precious conveniently packed, near a door, and easily portable. This will make evacuation far less stressful.

3. A well-stocked, easy to reach and carry disaster supply kit (they tend to fit well in a small Rubbermaid-type trash can) complete with:

A three-day supply of water and non-perishable food.

A battery-powered or hand crank radio, a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and a flashlight, with extra batteries for all of the above.

First aid kits are a good rule on so many levels. For more details on what can be found in a well-stocked first aid kit, click here.

A whistle should be in your emergency supplies to signal for help. Remember, the universal SOS signal with a whistle is three sharp blasts.

Also consider dust masks for potential air contaminants. Baby wipes with some garbage bags and ties can take care of waste situations.

A simple set of tools that is portable will come in handy, especially a wrench to turn off utilities.

Local maps, cell phones with chargers, inverter or a solar charger will help you communicate your position if you need to.

Have extra clothes and blankets for family members.

These tips, along with a healthy dose of common sense and thoughtful action, can help you and your families make the most of a bad situation. There is a big difference between being prepared and being scared.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments for him here or email him at


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