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How To Prepare For The Next San Diego Wildfire

Flames from the Witch Creek fire light up the early Friday morning sky in nor...

Photo by Jon Vidar / Associated Press

Above: Flames from the Witch Creek fire light up the early Friday morning sky in northern San Diego County, Oct. 26, 2007.

RB United President: Personal Preparedness Is Key In Wildfire Situation


Valerie Brown, project coordinator, RB United


In the aftermath of the 2007 wildfires, a fledgling volunteer-run organization called RB United played a key role in helping Rancho Bernardo residents rebuild their homes. The Witch Creek Fire burned down 365 homes in the community.

Following the rebuilding, the organization's focus shifted to encouraging residents to be prepared for emergencies like fire and earthquakes.

Valerie Brown, project coordinator for RB United, said the biggest missing piece in responding to future wildfires is that people are not prepared to quickly evacuate their homes.

Brown recommends having a to-go bag ready and easily accessible, having an evacuation plan and creating a family communication plan.

"One of the most important things we found that's facing Northern California today is making sure you're adequately insured," Brown said. "We still have lots in Rancho Bernardo that are vacant because people did not have the insurance to ensure that they could rebuild."

Fire Safe Councils of San Diego County have resources on how to protect your home from fire, Brown said.

Brown joins KPBS Midday Edition on Friday to discuss how residents can be better prepared for the next wildfire.

Evacuation Checklist

United Policyholders, a non-profit organization that provides consumers with resources and information about insurance, prepared this checklist of important documents to take when you evacuate in addition to sentimental items:

Insurance policies and related correspondence

Passports and birth certificates

Family Photos

Tax and loan documents

Stocks and bonds

Wills and trusts

Plans or blueprints of your home


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