Preparing Yourself for an Emergency

In the event of a fire, you should have a Go Kit. In the event of a flood, you should have a Stay Kit.

Coconino County holds the emergency management function in the area and part of these efforts include sharing important information about emergency preparedness. We are fortunate to live and work in a land of vast and endless beauty, but it comes with the risk of wildfires and post-wildfire flooding, among other possible emergencies.

This summer has shown us examples of both wildfires and post-wildfire flooding. The Rafael Fire was discovered on June 18 in the Prescott National Forest as a result of a lightning strike. The fire quickly grew in size because of the extremely dry conditions, moving into three National Forests (Prescott, Kaibab and Coconino) and two counties (Yavapai and Coconino) and impacting two populated cities (Sedona and Flagstaff).

Several communities within Flagstaff were put on “Set – Pre-evacuation” status. By early July, the fire was contained thanks to the diligent work of first responders. Not long after the Rafael Fire, on July 13, monsoonal rain led to extensive flooding on the burn scar left behind from the Museum Fire, which burned in 2019.

These events should serve as a reminder to us all that we cannot have a thriving economy if our communities are seriously impacted by these emergencies. Now is the time to take steps to prepare yourself, your family and your business for possible threats.

In a fire, direction is provided by law enforcement in the terms “Ready, Set and Go.”

  • Ready: Prepare yourself, monitor the situation, pack your important documents and valuables.
  • Set: Be set to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • Go: Leave immediately.

In a flood, direction is provided by Emergency Management as a “Shelter in Place” notice.

Shelter in Place means go inside as quickly as possible. Bring any pets indoors. Know where your children are. If you are outside, move to high ground.

In the event of a fire, you should have a Go Kit. In the event of a flood, you should have a Stay Kit.

Go Kit: One gallon per day per person of water, food, flashlight, hand-crank radio, extra batteries, first-aid kit, medications, important documents, pets and pet food, personal hygiene items, prescriptions, cell phone and charger, family and emergency contact information, priceless items like photos or mementos, and cash.

Stay Kit: 72 hours’ worth of food and water, first aid kit, pet supplies, manual can opener, cell phone and charger, personal hygiene items, cash, flashlight with extra batteries, copy of Family Communication Plan, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, prescription medications and eyeglasses, important papers.

Please take seriously the threat of fires and floods here in Coconino County and please be smart. Follow fire restrictions when they are in place, do not enter flooded areas, and sign up for Emergency Notifications at FBN

By Wes Dison

Wes Dison is the director of Emergency Management at Coconino County.

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