The Two Exit Rule

Every neighborhood should have two exits. (In case one way out is blocked by fire, there needs to be another emergency exit.) Because this may mean traversing private property — and getting through locked gates — each neighborhood needs to negotiate their backup exit.

Here are photos of the arrangement made on Dupont Road:

Reflector at locked gate
Bolt cutters to open gate in an emergency

Evacuation Essentials

Evacuation Preparedness and Evacuation

for the Occidental Community Services District:  A Comprehensive Plan

Rev.9  10/01/2020

This is a “working document,” meant to be filled in by you, the OCSD resident(s), and then to be used as a color-coded assignment and check off list.

When to Evacuate:

  • If you are advised to leave, don’thesitate!

Evacuating early helps firefighters and keeps roads clear of congestion.

  • Know your evacuation zone. Sonoma County Sheriff Dept. Evacuation Zone . See: https://sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=69a0e54e9e2b4 8c086d122027b21c961 (You live in: 1E1, 1E3, 1F1, 1G1, 1G2, 4E1, 4G1, or 4G2)
  • Leave as soon as is recommended by fire officials or the sheriff’s department to avoid being caught in fire, smoke, or road congestion.
  • In an intense wildfire, first responders may not have time to knock on every door. Save them time by posting your door hangers, and assure they are securely affixed (due to winds).
  • Alert info: KSRO, Santa Rosa @ 1350 AM & 103.5 FM; Nixle; Code RED SoCoAlert; NOAA weather/hazard alerts via a public alert certified radio (See “V.” below)

The Occidental Fire Station wildfire alert siren signal is a buildup to a single, steady level for a 3- minute duration (subject to change). Sheriff vehicles will sound a unique high-low European siren.

Your Customized Evacuation Plans

Create an evacuation plan that includes:

  • A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire area. Choose two meeting places:
  • A place a safe distance from your home for a home fire:
  • A place outside the evacuation zone(s) for a wildfire:
  • Several different escape routes from your home and community (See “VII.”).

Also refer to the Neighborhood Groups evacuation plan for your area.

  • An evacuation plan for pets and livestock
  • A communications plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single communication source/hub among family members in case of separation (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others. Landline phones and/or cell towers, and/or broadband systems may become overloaded, limited, or damaged during a disaster.)
  • Showing responsible family members and neighbors how to shut off propane
  • Keeping a sturdy pair of boots (ideally) or shoes, and a flashlight, near your bed at all times
  • Pre-assigning duties among family members for “I.” through “VI.” below (See “V.”)
  • Assuring that all family members know how to “stop, drop, and roll” if clothes catch fire
  • Practicing what you decide to do


  1. Inside thehome:
    • “Go Kit(s):” Place into your vehicle ASAP.
    • Shut all windows and doors (interior too), and leave them unlocked.
    • Shut off all gas pilot lights.
    • Leave both indoor and outdoor lights on for firefighters and emergency vehicles.
    • Shut off air conditioning and house fans.
    • Remove combustible window shades and lightweight curtains.
    • Close fire-resistant drapes.
    • Move over-stuffed furniture (like couches) to the center of the rooms, away from windows.
  1. Outside thehome:
    • Sound your CO2 air horn(s) to alert neighbors: Three, 3-second blasts w. 1-sec. separations
    • Unlock and prop open gates.
    • Back your vehicle into the garage or driveway so it is facing out, and with all doors and windows closed. Keep ignition keys on your person, so as not to accidently lock them in the vehicle.
    • Disconnect electric garage door opener so door can be manually operated.
    • Remove combustible items from outside the home and outbuildings and place them either inside or far away. (Including: door mats, patio furniture, toys, trash cans, portable propane tanks, and any firewood within 10 feet of any structure.)
    • Connect garden hoses to hose bibs for firefighters to use. Attach squeeze grip nozzles to hoses.
    • Close propane tank valve at the tank.
    • Fill water buckets and place them around the outside of the house, especially near decks and combustible fences.
    • Connect garden hoses to exterior hose bibs.
    • Place non-combustible ladder(s) (aluminum or fiberglass) at the corners of structures for firefighters to access roofs. Do the same for any water storage tank(s) so the manway (lid) is easily accessible.
    • Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation.
    • Check on or call your neighbors to assure they are aware and prepared to evacuate.
    • If fuel is on site, add to vehicle if needed and if time permits.
    • Post your “Evacuated/Occupied” door hangers or your “Help Needed” door hangers on all main exterior doors and secure them so they cannot blow away.
    • Assure that your driveway(s) are clear and unobstructed.
    • Just before evacuating: If your eves or roofs have a fire sprinkler system, turn it /them on.

If time permits:

  1. Clean your roofs and gutters. Blow/rake/sweep leaves away from structures.
  2. Just before evacuating: Spray a fire retardant on windows to prevent them from exploding.
  3. Alternatively: Cover windows and combustible siding with temporary, non-flammable wraps.
  4. Alternatively: Cover windows, attic openings, and vents with either precut plywood (at least ½ inch thick) or with metal covers.
  1. On yourperson:
    • All family members: long sleeves and long pants. (Heavy cotton or wool is preferable.)
    • Sturdy pair of boots (ideally) or shoes
    • Wear leather gloves, helmet (with brim), and eye protection (ideally full coverage goggles).


  • Cover your face with a N95 respirator (or better), a dry bandanna, or (cotton or wool) scarf.
  • Carry a headlamp, flashlight (even during the day), and cell phone
  • Carry car keys, wallet, and driver’s license (or other ID).
  • Cash, plus credit, debit, and ATM cards
  • Water (stay hydrated)
  1. In your vehicle (at alltimes):
    • Small shovel or collapsible shovel
    • Class A or Class AC fire extinguisher (ideally 5 lb.)
  1. Wildfire & Emergency “Go Kit”items:
    • “Fresh,” disposable, dated, CO2 air horn(s). Keep handy at all times.
    • N95 respirators, or better, plus additional masks during any pandemic
    • Goggles, leather gloves
    • Fire-style safety helmet with wide brim (ideally outfitted with a clip-on flashlight)
    • Flashlight and headlamp
    • Water bottles and food that does not need cooking (a three day non-perishable supply/person)
    • Map with marked evacuation routes (See “VII.” below.)
    • Prescription medicines
    • Extra glasses or contact lenses
    • Extra set of vehicle keys and credit cards
    • Cash & checkbook.
    • First aid kit, including burn dressings and burn ointment
    • Change of clothing and wool blanket
    • Important documents (birth certificates, passports, insurance policies, trust docs, etc.)
    • Battery-powered weather/all hazard NOAA & public alert certified radio. Enter/program: Sonoma Co. SAME # 006097. NOAA weather radio Channel 4: WZ2504 @ 162.475 Mhz Alternate option: battery-powered radio
    • For pets: food, leashes, tags, supplies, and medication (See Addendum for more details.)
    • Cell phone(s)
    • Spare chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
    • Extra batteries for: Flashlight, headlamp, and radio
    • Home inventory list, and/or photos, and/or video recording. Consider placing this information on a memory card. (Keep a copy of this off site and/or consider cloud storage.)
    • Photos or video of the home exterior, landscape, and any outbuildings
    • Sanitation supplies, including hand sanitizer during any pandemic
    • Address book & emergency contact cards for each family member
    • Copy of this evacuation plan for each family member with each box color-coded, thereby assigning tasks (by color) to eachperson.
  1. Things not todo:
  • Do not leave lawn sprinklers on. They are ineffective and can reduce critical water pressure.
  • Do not hose your roof down. It is dangerous, ineffective, and wastes time and water.

VII. Items to take if time permits:

□ Easily carried valuables (Make a list here.)


  • Important photos or other irreplaceable items/heirlooms (Make a list here.)
  • Computer(s) and digital backups (on hard drives/flash drives and/or discs). List here:

VIII. Evacuation routes from your home (Show at least 2 for each wind direction):

Plan A: If wildfire is coming from the north or northeast: Route 1:

Route 2:

Plan B: If wildfire is coming from the west: Route 1:

Route 2: Plan C:

  1. What to do if you become trapped near awildfire…
    1. While in yourhome:
      • Stay calm and keep your family together.
      • Call 911 and inform authorities of your location.
      • Fill sinks, tubs, and buckets with cold water.
      • Stay inside your house.
      • Stay away from exterior walls and windows.
  1. While in yourvehicle:
    • Stay calm and stay in your vehicle.
    • Park your vehicle in an area clear of vegetation.
    • Close all vehicle windows and vents.
    • Turn on headlights and emergency flashers to make vehicle visible in heavy smoke.
    • Use your cell phone to contact authorities: Call 911
    • Cover yourself with a wool blanket or jacket.
    • Lie on the vehicle floor.
  2. While onfoot:
    • Stay calm and stay together.
    • Try to stay on level ground.
    • Go to an area clear of vegetation. If possible, seek a ditch or depression.
    • Use your cell phone to contact authorities: Call 911
    • Lie face down and cover yourself with a wool blanket or jacket.


Addendum for Pet Owners

  • Place pets in carriers ASAP, or as soon as you know you will be evacuating. (Otherwise, you may not be able to catch them. They sense your increased anxiety as the fire approaches.)
  • Assure your pets have collars with tags.
  • Pack fresh water, bowls, pet food, and leashes
  • Pack kitty litter tray for cats. (Travel litter trays are available at pet stores.)
  • Use a pheromone cat spray, such as ThunderEase, to calm anxious cats.
  • Prepare horses and large animals for transport. Consider moving them to a safe location before an evacuation is ordered.
  • Post this list in a conspicuous location, and also place a copy in each “Go Kit” (for each person to use as a check off list prior toevacuating).
  • At a minimum, review your plan ahead of each fire season.
  • At a minimum, visit the Fire Safe Occidental website: firesafeoccidental.org and check for updates ahead of each fire season.


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Evacuation Preparedness