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City manager discusses ‘Defend Atascadero’ wildfire preparedness program 

City Manager Rachelle Rickard resized

Atascadero City Manager Rachelle Rickard.

News from the City
By City Manager Rachelle Rickard
June, 2019

Have you heard about it yet? We really hope so! And if not you may be wondering, just what is Defend Atascadero? We invite everyone to view our new Defend Atascadero video, which can be found on the City’s webpage for the Atascadero Department of Fire and Emergency Services at www.atascadero.org/fire. Simply put, Defend Atascadero is a Community Wildfire Preparedness Program developed by the Atascadero Department of Fire and Emergency Services, which includes educating and informing Atascadero residents about how to best protect themselves, their neighbors and our community from the effects of a devastating wildfire.

It is also very important for every resident to know that PG&E has implemented a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program. This means that when certain weather events are predicted to occur, such as high winds, low humidity and dry fuels; PG&E will proactively shut off the power. It is likely that these PSPS events will affect very large areas, so we all need to plan not only for long-term power outages at our homes, but for the power to also be turned off for the entire community, including the commercial areas of town that provide critical services we all use every day – grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, stores, and traffic signal lights.

In the event of such an event, generators will be utilized to power critical City infrastructure such as the police station, fire stations, wastewater equipment and water wells. The City of Atascadero and the Atascadero Mutual Water Company are getting ready for potential power outages that could last for several days and so should every resident; by having sufficient emergency supplies of food, water, gas for vehicles and cash on hand, as well as an alternative method for charging any necessary equipment. Please visit PG&E’s website for more information at https://prepareforpowerdown.com/.

Everyone can help to Defend Atascadero by eliminating hazardous fire fuels and maintaining 100’ of defensible space around homes and structures. Additional safety measures include what’s known as “hardening your home”, which means, when feasible, upgrading the roof of your home to an ignition-resistant material such as composition, metal or tile; “boxing-in” eaves; covering vent openings with metal mesh; building or remodeling with ignition-resistant building materials such as stucco or other approved materials; installing dual-paned and tempered glass in windows; and removing all combustible items and materials from near or around decks or balconies.

Every household needs to have an emergency evacuation plan, designating a safe meeting place and practicing the plan in advance. In addition, be sure to assemble an emergency supply kit which includes important documents, identification and medications; and go online to self-register for Reverse 911 through the Sheriff’s Department. Don’t forget to have an evacuation plan for your pets and livestock as well. Know and follow Ready, Set, Go!

· Be Ready: Create and maintain defensible space and harden your home against flying embers.
· Get Set: Prepare your family and home ahead of time for the possibility of having to evacuate.
· GO! Take the evacuation steps necessary to give your family and home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

For more details about Defend Atascadero and how to best prepare your home and family for protection from wildland fire, please visit www.atascadero.org/fire or call the Fire Station at (805) 461-5070. Our Fire Department staff is always very happy to provide residents with information and guidance on fire safety.

If you would like more information about this or another city government-related topic, please contact me at rrickard@atascadero.org, or (805) 470-3400.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the A-Town Daily News wrote and edited this article from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@accesspublishing.com.

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