Wildfires: Review community communications, train for quick evacuations
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January 1, 2019
In November, California suffered its deadliest wildfire in history, the Camp Fire. This single fire killed dozens of people, destroyed 10,500 homes, and burned an area the size of Chicago. Two weeks after the initial blaze began, the casualty toll stood at 85 deaths and more than 200 still missing.
During these fires, healthcare workers stepped up to take care of patients before escaping the flames themselves. Hospital workers evacuated patients in ambulances, police cars and personal vehicles as the fire swept through the Paradise, California, community within hours, according to media reports.
Stories included problems not only with fire damaging structures and vehicles, but smoke and ash clogging mechanical engines and creating blinding conditions for evacuees.
Even when such fires burn out, the reprieve is expected to be short. As climate change raises temperatures and brings more droughts to the West Coast, wildfires are expected to become more frequent and dangerous.