FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – As wildfire dangers continue, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office says rural residents need to be ready in case a fire breaks out near their home.

Officials say one of the first things someone can do to prepare is to sign up for the Everbridge Alert System. Everbridge is a free service that allows the Sheriff’s Office to provide notifications about potential hazards. A link to the registration page can be found here.

During an emergency, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office uses specific terminology to communicate with the public. These include:

  • Shelter in place, which means people should go indoors and shut and lock all doors and windows.  Prepare to self-sustain until further notice and/or you are contacted by emergency personnel providing additional direction.
  • Evacuation warning, which means there is a potential threat to life and/or property. Those who need additional time to evacuate or people with pets or livestock should leave.
  • Evacuation order, meaning there is an immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now and the area of the fire is closed to public access.
  • Hard closure, meaning roads are closed to all traffic except fire and law enforcement.
  • Soft closure, which means roads are closed to all traffic except fire, law enforcement, and critical resources such as utility workers, Caltrans, city or road workers.
  • Resident-only closure, meaning a soft closure with additional allowances for residents and local government agencies assisting with response and recovery.

The Sheriff’s Office also provided a list of items to make sure you take with you in the event of an evacuation, which includes:

  • Keys
  • Forms of Identification
  • Pets
  • Personal photos
  • Personal electronic devices
  • Medications
  • Eyeglasses
  • Valuable papers

Bringing some form of paperwork or documentation with your physical address with you will also help with re-entry into the area according to the sheriff’s office. A real-time fire mapping system can be found here.

For those who need help transporting animals out of a fire situation, the Central California Animal Disaster Team can provide assistance. The request form for the Central California Animal Disaster Team can be found here.

Additional information about fire safety can be found here.