Quandary: What to know in the event of an evacuation | SummitDaily.com

Quandary: What to know in the event of an evacuation

Firefighting helicopters allow for more precise drops than air tankers, such as type-one helicopter, which can drop 1,000 gallons of water at a time. This is just one of many tools at firefighters' disposal when battling a fire in the High Country.
Courtesy of Joel Cochran / Summit County Emergency Management |


Quandary, the old and wise mountain goat, has been around Summit County for ages, and has the answers to all questions about life, love and laws in the High Country. Have a question for Quandary? Email your queries about Summit and the High Country to Quandary@summitdaily.com.

Dear Quandary,

I’ve never really thought about having to be evacuated before. What do I need to know for these situations?

I understand completely, these old hooves haven’t moved that fast in a long time.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is if a firefighter or any other emergency responder tells you to get out, do it. They aren’t being overly cautious, they are trying to save your butt, so don’t say, “But I need to get my antique silverware.” Say “thank you” and walk away.

There are some things that you should try to grab before you need to go but it’s a good idea to just keep a bag ready, you know, in case of emergency.

Your kit should include copies of important documents like your driver’s license, birth certificates and social security cards, but also essential supplies.

As the people in the Peak 7 neighborhood can testify, it could be a while before you are again able to rest your weary bones in your happy home, so officials recommend having enough supplies to last 72 hours. This includes food, water, medications and first-aid supplies. Blankets, pillows and the like can also go a long way toward giving you some kind of creature comfort during the uncertainty.

One thing you can definitely leave at home is your drone. Firefighters have enough to worry about without your “awesome footage” grounding their support. Know that if you are flying your drone, air tankers, helicopters and other emergency crews can’t get in the air. If they find you, while they may want to give you a smack upside the head — they probably won’t though — you are likely to get a serious fine and possible court appearance. Besides, who wants to be that guy? If your neighbor’s house burns down, they aren’t going to want to hear how totally awesome your drone photos are.

When it is time to go, don’t worry — it won’t be a subtle suggestion. You might receive a reverse 911 call, emergency alert text message or email, and even a knock on the door from a friendly neighborhood hero dressed in bunker gear. Notices will also go out over the radio, Code Red and online through official websites, Twitter and Facebook.

Again, try to be prepared: Make sure you’re set up with the local alert systems and follow the various emergency service groups on Twitter. While a fire is blazing is not the time to try to learn new technologies, so if 140 characters didn’t pop into your head right away, maybe get some help setting that one up and use it as your backup alert system.

At the time of an evacuation, you will be directed to the temporary shelter — for the Peak 2 Fire evacuees were sent to Summit Middle School. And after you leave, or go all Yosemite Sam on a firefighter and refuse to abandon your beloved A-frame, your house will be marked with a flag. These flags help communicate to other emergency personnel what the situation is at your house.

Obviously, you aren’t going to want to leave your pets or livestock at home, and announcements will also go out at the same time about where you can drop off your four-legged friends.

During this fire, the Summit County Animal Shelter offered to house pets as needed, as did numerous ranchers throughout the county and neighboring Park County.

Again, check with county and emergency services personnel to get details about your specific situation. In order to help get ahead of the curve you can check Ready.gov for tips on making your emergency kit and an emergency communication plan, in case you, your spouse and kids aren’t all home when the call comes in.

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