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San Diego County Releases New Fire Season Disaster Plan For Residents

Holly Porter with the Office of Emergency Services speaks at a press conferen...

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: Holly Porter with the Office of Emergency Services speaks at a press conference announcing the county's new personal disaster plan for wildfires in San Diego on October 18, 2019.

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The update comes as Southern California enters its most dangerous time of the year for wildfires.

Aired: October 22, 2019 | Transcript

San Diego County unveiled its new wildfire disaster plan for residents, especially those in the most fire-prone areas.

The new plan comes on the anniversaries of the 2007 Witch Creek fire and the 2003 Cedar fire. Both wildfires were catastrophic, burning more than 200,000 acres, destroying homes and killing more than a dozen people.

"It's with that backdrop that we're urging every resident in San Diego County to prepare themselves and their households for what could be another devastating fire season," said Holly Porter with the Office of Emergency Services.

The new personal disaster plan will be mailed to 200,000 residents and 5,000 businesses in the most fire-prone areas.

Reported by Priya Sridhar , Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

Only 40% of residents say they have a personal disaster plan, according to the county. And it's the first time since 2006 that the plan has been updated.

Officials say some of the best ways to stay safe and prevent wildfires is to maintain your vehicles and exercise extreme caution when working outdoors, especially by avoiding using tools that can spark a fire. County officials say the new manual will also define different phrases and terminology officials might use during an emergency situation.

For example, Porter said, do people know the difference between an evacuation warning and an evacuation order?

"First responders will do their best to give a warning to say: 'it's time now to prepare to evacuate' before they issue an order which is 'get out of harm's way now, leave your home now,'" Porter said.

Listen to this story by Priya Sridhar.

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