With recent wildfires and corresponding smoke inundating our region on people’s minds, the four Western Washington counties of King, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston are joining forces, along with partners, to launch a regional “Ready, Set, Go!” evacuation campaign. This initiative aims to simplify evacuation messages to the public. These clear, straightforward messages are intended to save lives as people prepare to evacuate.
The risk of wildfires has spread to the west side of the Cascades, an area that historically has not seen widespread wildfires. Once a rare occurrence, wildfires have now become an annual threat, requiring public outreach and preparation. The “Ready, Set, Go!” evacuation campaign informs the public on how to respond to the three levels of evacuations (traditionally Levels 1, 2, and 3), and prepares them on the actions they should take at each level when alerted by authorities.
This evacuation program is also intended for an all-hazards evacuation approach with an initial emphasis on wildfires.
Key Components of the Campaign:
Be aware of the danger in your area and start preparing for possible evacuation (Level 1) – Monitor local media and check on neighbors. If you do not already have an evacuation plan or a Go! kit, assemble these now. Conditions can change suddenly, and you may not receive a Level 2 “Be Set” warning before you are ordered to Level 3 “Go! .” Prepare both the inside and outside of your home for fire. Leave if you feel unsafe — do not wait for an official evacuation order.
Short notice evacuation likely in your area (Level 2) – Be prepared for sudden evacuation. People who need help or more time to evacuate — people with disabilities, people with small children, people with medical conditions and people with large animals — should evacuate now. Ensure your evacuation plan checklist is complete and that your Go! kit is in your vehicle. Stay informed and be aware of alerts from local law enforcement and fire departments. Always remember to leave if you feel unsafe, do not wait for an official evacuation order.
Evacuate immediately from your area (Level 3) – Go now! Danger in your area is current or imminent. Follow directions from law enforcement or fire departments and do not return home until officials have determined it is safe. Notification that it is safe to return home will be given as soon as possible.
The “Ready, Set, Go!” evacuation campaign is a testament to the power of collaboration. By bringing together the expertise of multiple counties, emergency response agencies, and community organizations, the campaign can create a more resilient and informed population.
Residents are encouraged to participate actively by preparing their homes, accessing informational materials, and staying informed about local emergency updates. Individuals can play a vital role in enhancing the safety and preparedness of their communities.
Staying informed includes signing up for emergency alerts. If you live or work in Lakewood, University Place and/or Steilacoom, please sign up for emergency alerts to stay updated, as these types of incidents are dynamic and can change at a moment’s notice.
Check out www.piercecountywa.org/emergency for more information on evacuation procedures.