San Diego

New Wildfire Guidelines Released for San Diego County Schools

As kids are going back to school and wildfire danger is increasing, San Diego County has launched a new tool to help keep students safe in case of a wildfire.

They released a set of guidelines to help schools in the county take steps to pre-plan for fires.

“Too often what happens when there is an emergency situation such as a fire that breaks out in an area that's close to a school, and parents panic, and they want to go quickly to school to get their kids,” said county supervisor Dianne Jacob.

But that may not always be the safest thing to do.

Plenty of San Diego County schools have been impacted by wildfires over the last several years, including, most recently, those near the Lilac fire in Fallbrook in 2017.

Because schools across the county have different systems and needs, the new plan works as a template that guides each school, but can be altered as needed. It includes evacuation plans, locations of shelters depending on where the fire is burning, transportation, communications, and other safety measures.

The County Office of Emergency Services, San Diego County Office of Education, county schools, East County fire agencies and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department took a year to put these guidelines together.

“It's very important to for us to be able to account for students to keep them safe and release them at the appropriate time to their parents in the most coordinated fashion and manner that we can,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold.

To view the guidelines and more disaster preparedness resources for schools, head over to the Ready San Diego website.

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