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Tusayan educates with Ready, Set, Go! fire program

The Ready, Set, Go! fire program gives a three step process to prepare individuals and communities in the case of evacuation because of wildfire. (Photo/Coconino County)

The Ready, Set, Go! fire program gives a three step process to prepare individuals and communities in the case of evacuation because of wildfire. (Photo/Coconino County)

TUSAYAN, Ariz. — In order to educate the community about fire safety a presentation of the Ready, Set, Go! Program was given at the Dec. 9 Tusayan Town Council meeting.

The presentation was made by Coconino County Emergency Management Program Coordinator Matt Christian. Christian pointed out that Coconino County is the second-largest county in the United States, with millions of visitors per year. He said for a county whose economy is largely dependent on tourism, wildland fires are one of the greatest threats to the community at large.

This past year, there have been 13 wildfires in Arizona that burned across areas larger than 1,000 acres; the most threatening being the Octillo Fire near Cave Creek, which destroyed 20 buildings, eight of the buildings were residential.

According to the Ready, Set, Go! facts, up to 80 percent of homes destroyed by wildfires could have been prevented if homeowners had followed fire-safe practices. One of these practices include creating “defensible spaces” on lands bordering homes. This defensible space allows firefighters access in the event of a wildfire.

The three Ready, Set, Go! tenets

According to Christian, in 2017, the Arizona Sheriff’s Association adopted and implemented the Ready, Set, Go! Program, which was designed to improve messaging to the community using “detailed and concise” information that community members can use to be prepared for wildfire emergencies.

“That (program) was designed to educate our residents to be very proactive,” Christian said.

The program, while containing detailed information for homeowners, is also a basic readiness guide to help residents be more prepared for a wildfire event.

The first of the three tenets, Ready, encourages residents to be ready before a fire occurs by having a plan to prepare their home and personal belongings.

The second, Set, is designed to guide residents when a fire is approaching, and encourages residents to follow their “personal wildland fire action plan,” which is explained in the first tenet, and consists of assembling a 72-hour emergency kit, preparing the home, and staying aware of the situation by staying tuned-in to emergency updates.

The third tenet, Go!, urges residents to act early, which means evacuating “well before the threat approaches,” and cooperating with local authorities during evacuation orders, as well as the re-entry process.

During the presentation, Christian urged residents to visit the Coconino County website to read about the program in detail, and to sign up for email and text alerts, at coconino.az.gov/ready.

Tusayan Town Manager Charlie Hendrix mentioned that the town has been working toward a greater hazard mitigation plan, and has been working with Christian in order to better prepare for future emergencies.

“We’re doing a lot of emergency planning and preparedness planning, and you’re going to be seeing more and more of that from us,” Hendrix said.

More information is available at ein.az.gov/ready-set-go.

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