Advice from Fire Chief Chadwick: Be prepared

Benicia Fire Chief Josh Chadwick

The LNU Lightning Complex fire that occurred in Lake, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano and Napa counties last month, serves as a reminder that we live in wildfire country.

Although the fire did not reach the city of Benicia, it did impact parts of Solano County, resulting in smoky conditions and a hazardous situation for people with breathing issues such as COPD and asthma. The proximity of this fire disaster also created stress for Benicia residents who worried if the fire would come this way.  

In a recent interview with Benicia Fire Chief, Josh Chadwick, the fire chief stated that the LNU Lightning Complex fire was a wake-up call for all Benicia residents. He made the following helpful suggestions:

First, all residents should clear dry brush that might be growing around their property and/or hillside, making sure that there is a thirty foot clearance around all homes and structures.

Second, all residents should be able to evacuate quickly and at a moment’s notice. They should have already established a list of what to take beforehand. This way, they don’t waste time on the day of the emergency and can focus on leaving in a timely and safe manner. This list, which includes food, water, medication, pet food, change of clothes, baby items, identification papers, insurance policies, etc., should be made now, in a thoughtful and rational manner, before the next wildfire scare.

Third, residents should sign up for the online emergency alert system, Alert Solano. This system enables the agencies in Solano County to provide critical information to residents swiftly in case of wildfire, severe weather, road closures, missing persons, and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. This is a free app that you can access by searching “Alert Solano” on your phone. You can have the alerts sent via text or email. This service can be a real lifesaver in an emergency.

Benicia Fire Chief, Josh Chadwick, also used the interview to promote the Benicia Fire Museum, located at 900 E. 2nd St. This small but fascinating museum boasts antique fire trucks, fire equipment, and other historical equipment used during fire and earthquake emergencies throughout Benicia’s history. The museum also pays homage to Benicia’s volunteer fire service. The first of such organizations in California, it was founded in 1847, before California entered statehood. Because of the COVID pandemic, please call the museum regarding their schedule: 707.745.1688. 

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