Letters were sent out earlier this week and over 60 residents agreed to participate.
“People need to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice,” Chris Chambers, Ashland Fire and Rescue, said.
In order to prepare for an emergency, Ashland first responders and residents participated in an evacuation drill Saturday. Their scenario was a wildfire approaching the city.
“Ashland has actually had two real fire evacuations in the past ten years,” Chambers said.
There were two evacuation centers. One was for people and another for residents with pets.
In preparation of an evacuation, it’s important to remember ‘Ready, set and go’ or step 1, 2 and 3. During fire season everyone should be ready to evacuate. Step two, is when the fire isn’t directly affecting homes yet, but could soon. Step three?
“It’s a threat to your home and you need to evacuate and don’t waste any time,” Chambers said.
An evacuation could be ordered for other emergencies, as well, such as flooding.
“When there is a big emergency, especially wildfire, we are looking at Paradise, California, Santa Rosa. You know, urban wildfires, and we have to be prepared to get people out fast,” Dana Rayburn, CERT team leader, said.
One of the big factors tested today was Ashland’s emergency alert system, Nixle.
This is one of the ways residents are alerted about an evacuation.
“This gave us an opportunity to test, test the system,” Rayburn said.
This is the first evacuation drill in over 8 years. Ashland Fire and Rescue says they hope this becomes an annual drill.
“It’s the middle of fire season right now, an evacuation could even happen this afternoon,” Chambers said.
Anna Weeks is the anchor of NBC5 News at 5 and 11 and Your Place @7 with Anna Weeks. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a degree in Digital Communication Arts and a minor in writing. Previously, she interned with the National Association of Broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Originally from the Portland area, Anna loves exploring Southern Oregon. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, and watching sports.