Wildfire and Extreme Weather Preparedness

As the deadly wildfires in California continue to burn, and with peak hurricane season just around the corner,  we encourage you to take the time to review your facility’s response plans and discuss how you may be able to enhance preparedness for these and other extreme weather events that could affect your facility.

Establishing or reinforcing relationships with your local emergency management, police, and fire, as well as other facilities in your region before  a disaster hits is an excellent step in enhancing preparedness.  Sharing aspects of preparedness plans, discussing what needs you anticipate should your facility become affected, and what you have to offer (whether that be a staging area for emergency management,  staff support, supplies, etc.) is mutually beneficial and can save valuable time in a disaster.

Preparedness Checklists

Ahead of wildfire season, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park held a 2 day meeting for the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) with CalFire, California Highway Patrol, and first responders from various counties to discuss wildfire preparedness.   The CAZA Fire Review Checklist  was developed out of this meeting  and provides a quick preparedness checklist useful for facilities looking to prepare various other types of disasters as well.

Some additional checklists developed by the Zoo Best Practices Working Group are available on our website at the following links:

–          Risk Assessment

–          Facility Operations

–          Animal Transport/Evacuation

–          Emergency Animal Care

–          Administration

–          Communications

Contingency Planning

Every facility should have some plan of what to do should disaster occur, but the planning process,  including training on and maintaining your plans, can be more important than the plan itself.  Whether your facility already has a robust contingency plan in place or is just getting started, Consider reviewing the following with your staff:

–          What are the overarching goals of your plan?

–          Who are your partners in preparedness?

–          What are the greatest risks to your facility

–          What are your facility’s needs and limitations?

The Contingency Planning Modules and corresponding workbook are an excellent resource for anyone looking to begin or revisit the planning process.

Please let us know if the ZAHP Fusion Center can provide assistance to you as you continue working to enhance preparedness at your facility, and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.