The notion of a wildfire surrounding or even entering Rossmoor seems more plausible now than before the Tubbs Fire in October 2017, which destroyed 5,643 structures in three Northern California counties, almost half of those buildings in the city of Santa Rosa.
Even more severe devastation occurred in November 2018 as a result of the Camp Fire, one of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history. It destroyed most of the town of Paradise, in Butte County.
“ I do know that more residents are concerned about (fires) now, ever since the Santa Rosa fire, which devastated an urban environment,” said Dennis Bell, Rossmoor’s public safety manager. The Golden Rain Foundation is working with a consultant and officials from the city of Walnut Creek to update Rossmoor’s Emergency Operations Plan, with a full report expected to be released in October. Any official evacuation plan would need to come from the City, and only law enforcement and fire officials can declare an evacuation.
But that doesn’t mean residents can’t take steps to prepare for an emergency.
The American Red Cross has published a guide called “Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors,” with a treasure trove of recommendations for seniors faced with a disaster – natural or man-made. One component of that is a list of needs and supplies that should be part of a basic disaster supplies kit, which include:
• One gallon of water per person, per day (a threeday supply for evacuation and a two-week supply for home (17 days);
• A 17-day supply of canned/dried foods that don’t need cooking;
• A manual can opener;
• A flashlight with extra batteries and bulbs (do not use candles);
• A battery-operated or hand-crank radio;
• A first aid kit and manual;
• Medications (at least a seven-day supply) and medical items;
• A multi-purpose tool (several tools that fold up into a pocket-sized unit); think Swiss-army knife or similar;
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items (toilet paper, plastic garbage bags);
• Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies, etc.);
• A cell phone with an extra battery and charger(s);
• Family and friends’ emergency contact information; • Cash and coins (ATMs may not be accessible); • An emergency blanket;
• Map(s) of the local area;
• A whistle (to attract the attention of emergency personnel);
• One change of clothing;
• Pet supplies (including food, vaccination records and leash or carrier);
• An extra set of keys (car, house, etc.);
• A book or two, and/or a pack of cards to provide entertainment and pass the time Watch local news sources – Rossmoor News, Channel 28, East Bay Times, and online sources such as Patch or news24-680.com, area TV and radio stations – for possible information on temporary shelters, cooling centers or evacuation routes.