The year 2020 will be remembered for a lot of things, historic wildfires being just one of them. In Colorado alone, the first and second largest wildfires in the state’s history raged in October, with several other concurrent fires. California, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming also had wildfires this year. In some cases, these fires can grow by hundreds of thousands of acres in just a single day.
This presents a great challenge for communities that need to evacuate people, pets and livestock safely. A mass notification system can help.
With just two taps from a mobile device, municipalities and emergency centers can inform residents about wildfire movement, evacuation orders and information on how to safely evacuate. Communities in areas that are prone to wildfires, including California and the Rocky Mountain West, can use a system like Regroup’s to pre-plan templates. These templates can be sent out to thousands of people within seconds, when seconds count. If a route for a safe evacuation changes, people who may already be in their cars, on their mobile devices, can be quickly informed.
We know that evacuations are critical and save human lives. But there are other ways mass notifications can be used to help before, during and after wildfires.
- Emergency services can help guide residents on preparing an evacuation plan, including a kit. Clothes, water and paperwork including proof of residence, passports and insurance cards can help families immensely in these emergencies.
- Groups that have horse or cattle trailers and farms in a safe zone can coordinate with one another to relocate livestock from towns in the danger zone.
- Firefighting crews generally come from all over to bravely fight the flames and save lives. Mass notifications can be used to coordinate crews, and inform their leadership on staging areas for necessary equipment storage and food for the crews.
After The Danger Has Passed
- Communities can be given the “all clear” letting them know when it’s safe to return.
- Residents who have suffered damaged structures — or worse, have lost their homes — can be given a list of resources to let them know where to seek or apply for help.
- Nonprofit organizations can rally their donors, letting them know how to help with funds, volunteering, or goods like food and clothing.
- Simple things like trash pickup or utility services can be complicated after a natural disaster. Mass notifications can be used to give people the logistics on how to return to their normal lives.
While wildfires are a seasonal occurrence in many places, the fires are getting larger and more destructive, forcing evacuations even of entire towns. Heat, drought, lightning, and human causes have put wildfires on the map for many public safety authorities and municipalities. There is a wealth of data on just how widespread and destructive wildfires can be, and why. Here are additional resources on wildfires: