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County Unveils Plan To Protect Schools During Wildfires

Flames consume a structure as the Lilac fire burns in Bonsall, Calif., on Fri...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Flames consume a structure as the Lilac fire burns in Bonsall, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017.

When a wildfire is raging, questions have to be answered — and fast.

"Are they going to do an emergency evacuation — are they going to shelter to place — are they going to do an early dismissal?" said Lakeside Fire Protection District Chief Don Butz.

A new plan unveiled by the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services outlines steps school leaders can take when they have to evacuate due to a wildfire.

"How will transportation be secured to get the kids out of harm's way if an evacuation of the campus is necessary?" said San Diego County Office of Emergency Services Director Holly Porter. "What are the reunification procedures if you do have to relocate to an alternative site — what are the procedures staff should follow when parents come to pick up their children?"

RELATED: California Fire Risk Shows Urgent Need For Prevention Work

The wildfire protection plan will be modified for individual schools. Fire officials said parents should know what to do in the event of a fire emergency.

"Parents should be reaching out to their schools — their children's schools — to find out where those relocation sites are and more importantly what’s the best way to get information," Butz said. "Is it via social media — is there a mass calling system they use?"

The need for this plan came after devastating wildfires in recent years that forced schools to close, fire officials said. They say this blueprint will help better organize evacuations and protect lives during a fire.

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