Understanding “Ready” in the “Ready, Set, Go!” program

Published on June 20, 2024

Staff Portraits_STERNA KELLY_061324.jpg

By: Wildland Division Chief Kelly Sterna
Los Alamos Fire Department


Wildfire season is here, posing a significant risk to our scenic Los Alamos community, nestled amidst natural forests and mountainous terrains. While a paradise for many of us, this landscape also heightens our wildfire risk. Our community needs to be in a constant “Ready” state due to its geography and history of wildfires. Citizens should always be aware of local fire weather forecasts, local fire information, and most importantly, their “Ready” status.

Currently, New Mexico has two active wildland fires: the Indios fire which is northwest of Los Alamos near the village of Coyote, and the Blue 2 fire burning near Ruidoso (information is available on https://NMFireInfo.com). Although neither fire threatens Los Alamos, they serve as stark reminders of the importance of community preparedness.

To be “Ready” suggests that you have completed an evacuation plan, compiled a list of what may be needed or what you will want to evacuate with, developed a list of emergency phone numbers readily available, and registered with CodeRED or downloaded the app. 

By completing these tasks, residents and businesses should be ready in the event an evacuation is required, avoiding last-minute scrambling. Visit lacnm.com/ready-set-go for more information on the “Ready, Set, Go” program. 

“Ready” also takes shape in straightforward risk-reduction measures, such as creating defensible space and hardening homes against fire.  Did you know that the LAFD Wildland Fire Division will send an expert to your property and conduct a free wildland home assessment?  You can request an appointment by sending an email to me at Kelly.sterna@lacnm.us to be added to the calendar.

The following are some measures you can implement to be “Ready” –

Create a defensible space and fire-resistant landscaping. Establishing a defensible perimeter around your home is your first line of defense against the encroaching flames. By clearing away weeds, dried grass, and overgrown vegetation, you significantly diminish the chances of wildfire reaching your doorstep. This effort not only safeguards your property but also protects the entire community by preventing the spread of fires. This practice is twice as important for homes within the ember zone—those within a mile of natural areas and at greatest risk. Explore how to create a safe, effective, defensible space by visiting lacnm.com/ready-set-go.

Harden your home against fire. Transform your home into a fortress against wildfires with fire-resistant materials and practices. Focus on vulnerable areas such as balconies, decks, roof valleys, and gutters, ensuring they are clear of flammable debris and fortified against burning ember penetration. Utilize fire-retardant construction materials and cover eaves and vents with ignition-resistant and corrosion-resistant materials. These steps form a barrier that can repel the advance of a wildfire.

Develop an Action Plan and prepare a Go Kit. Preparedness is more than physical actions; it is also planning. A comprehensive action plan that details meeting locations and communication strategies for family members is essential. Incorporate plans for pets to ensure your entire family is ready to move at a moment's notice. Complement this with a Go Kit, stocked per the American Red Cross's recommendations, to support your household for at least three days during an evacuation. For a detailed list of Go Kit essentials, visit redcross.org/get-help.

Staying Informed Through Emergency Notifications. Information is your best ally in times of crisis. To ensure you receive important alerts from the Los Alamos Fire Department and the Emergency Manager's office, register for Los Alamos County's CodeRED emergency notification system. Text LOSALAMOS to 99411 or sign up at lacnm.com/Alerts.

Our collective commitment to these practices is not just a responsibility; it's a testament to our community's resilience. By preparing in advance and embracing preventive measures, we protect our homes and safeguard our neighbors' lives and properties. Thank you for your cooperation.


Tagged as: