RED CROSS NEWS RELEASE
The Northern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross has activated the safeandwell.org website to track the well being of Wellington Fire evacuees to give family and friends updates on their safety and status. Evacuees can go to the site and click “Register Myself as Safe and Well” to let concerned family and friends know they are safe and well.
Concerned family and friends can search for those registered by clicking on “Search for Registrants.”
If evacuees do not have computer access they may go to the evacuation center located at the Topaz Ranch Estates Community Center, 4001 Carter Drive, Wellington, Nev. Residents who have been evacuated are encouraged to register with the center and provide the Red Cross with their safe and well information, and a volunteer will enter it on the site for them.
Animal control is at the evacuation center to care for pets, and the sheriff’s posse is taking large animals.
For more information about the evacuation center call Rod Poole at 775-345-4055.
If a wildfire threatens
The American Red Cross reminds people to avoid any kind of outdoor burning in the affected states. Smokers should make sure their cigarettes are extinguished and avoid tossing cigarettes from their vehicles. One small spark can ignite the extremely dry brush and flames can spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes.
The Red Cross has important steps for people to follow that can lessen the threat of a wildfire. If a wildfire is burning near someone’s neighborhood, they should back their car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. People should confine pets to one room so they can find them if they need to get out quickly. Listen to local radio and television stations for updated information, and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
These steps will help limit one’s exposure to smoke:
• Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
• Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in the home or car.
• Do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor air pollution, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves. Avoid running the vacuum cleaner because it stirs up particles that are already inside the home.
• If someone has asthma or another lung disease, they should follow their health care provider’s advice and seek medical care if their symptoms worsen.
After a wildfire
People should not attempt to return to their neighborhood or enter their home until officials say it is safe to do so. Hot spots could still exist, so be careful. Avoid fallen power lines and watch for ash pits. If there is no power, check to make sure the main breaker is on. Fires may cause breakers to trip. If the breakers are on and power is still not present, contact the utility company.
Pet owners should keep their animals close and under control so hot spots don’t burn them. People should wear leather gloves and heavy-soled shoes, wet dry debris to minimize dust, and throw away any food that was exposed to heat, smoke or soot. Avoid using contaminated water to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula. Other steps to take after the fire include:
• Inspect one’s roof immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers.
• Keep rechecking for smoke or sparks throughout the home for several hours, including the attic. Winds can blow burning embers anywhere.
• If someone has a propane tank system, they should contact a propane supplier, turn off the valves and leave them closed until the supplier inspects the system.
• If someone has a heating oil tank system, they should contact a heating oil supplier or plumber for an inspection of the system before it is used.
• Any tree that has been weakened by fire may be a hazard. Look for burns on the trunk. If the bark has been burned off or scorched, the tree will not survive and should be considered unstable.
Being prepared can be the best offense when it comes to wildfires. A preparedness plan should include two ways out of someone’s neighborhood in case one is blocked. Set up a place for family members to meet outside the neighborhood in case they can’t get home or need to evacuate. Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the area. Post emergency phone numbers by every phone in the home and in everyone’s cell phone.
Other steps people can take include:
• Clear any vegetation within 30 feet of one’s home and store firewood at least 30 feet away.
• Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked.
• Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well or swimming pool.
• Set aside household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, ax, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and shovel. You may need to fight small fires before emergency responders arrive.
• Select building materials and plants that resist fire.
• Regularly clean roofs and gutters.
The Northern Nevada American Red Cross chapter area covers 87,000 square miles with a population of more than 670,000 people. Our chapter territory is from Tonopah north, with our main chapter in Reno and branch offices in Elko, Incline Village and Winnemucca.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information about becoming a volunteer, health and safety classes, or making a donation, call 775-856-1000 or visit our website at www.nevada.redcross.org.