By JOEL ANDERSON
In July, I partnered with my colleague Chairman Nathan Fletcher to hold a “Ready to Respond” press conference, highlighting the ways in which the County of San Diego is ready to respond to potential wildfires and other natural disasters.
With hot temperatures and strong winds approaching San Diego County, it’s time for us to prepare for potential wildfires. East County is especially prone to wildfires, so each of us has an individual responsibility to prepare ahead of time and be ready to evacuate. Although the backcountry is typically hit the hardest, it’s not unlikely that a fire could start in the Mission Trails area.
When I first moved to Alpine more than 30 years ago, within two weeks, my wife and I experienced our first wildfire evacuation. At the time, we were ill-prepared and didn’t know what to do. We both worked Downtown and for a few days weren’t allowed to go home. That taught me the importance of being prepared against wildfires.
After that first experience with evacuating, my wife and I bought a video camera and video taped everything in our house. Once a fire has done its damage, it’s nearly impossible to remember everything that you owned. We took that videotape and stored it in the city of San Diego where we thought it might be safer. Nowadays, everyone has a video recorder on their smartphone and can save the video in the cloud in the unfortunate incident that you lose your home.
I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors for not waiting for the next fire, but getting out ahead and helping our communities to be better prepared. They have also committed to offering more support to all our firefighters and other emergency and disaster personnel. These selfless and committed individuals have saved countless lives throughout the years. We can always replace cars, we can rebuild houses, but we cannot replace lives and that’s why the work that our firefighters and others do to protect us from wildfires is so important.
One of the best ways you can help firefighters is by being prepared yourself. My staff and I have put together a list of available online resources to ensure the safety of you, your families, and our community. If there are any other resources you would like to see included on our wildfire preparedness website, please send them to Joel.Anderson@sdcounty.ca.gov and we would be happy to add them. For the Wildfire Preparedness Resources, visit supervisorjoelanderson.com/wildfire.
—Joel Anderson represents District 2 on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.