Message from the Chief

When the snow keeps snowing and you’re finding it hard to get going, take a break and check to make sure you’ve got emergency preparations in place – whether winter or summer, emergency preparedness is an essential planning process for you and your family. Knowing that you are prepared for an emergency can help you and your family stay calm and act effectively. Working together, learning about risks, making an emergency kit, staying informed, knowing your evacuation plan are just some of the things you can do to prepare ahead of time.

The three key steps are: Make a Plan, Assemble a Kit and Stay Informed. Prior to a disaster, each family must have a plan. You can begin this process by gathering family members and making sure each person is well informed on potential hazards and community plans. Discuss with them what you would do if family members were not home when a warning is issued. The Washoe County Emergency Management Program has compiled some general information listed below to help you prepare for an emergency.

Emergency Plan
Prior to a disaster, each family must have a plan. You can begin this process by gathering family members and making sure each person is well informed on potential hazards and community plans. Discuss with them what you would do if family members are not home when a warning is issued. Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies.

Assemble a Kit
You may need to survive on your own after a disaster. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in enough quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days. There are six key items you should have: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing/bedding, tools and any special items. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container.

Stay Informed
Learn what disasters or emergencies may occur in your neighborhood. Local emergency management officials will continually be updating the local media during the events of an emergency. Citizens should monitor local television stations and radio emergency alerts. It is a good idea to have a battery-operated radio included in your evacuation kit. Sign up for Code Red to receive emergency alerts, visit The Emergency Alert System (EAS) local primary stations are: KKOH 780AM, KUNR 88.9 FM, KOWL 1490AM, KRLT 93.9 FM, KTKE 101.50 FM.

Evacuation Preparedness
Should you need to evacuate, a key component is knowing how to safely and effectively evacuate. Successful community evacuation requires preparation. Elements of family emergency planning and preparation:
• Meet with household members, explain dangers and work as a team to prepare your family for emergencies.
• Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
• Post emergency phone numbers near phones.
• Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at your home.
• Select a safe meeting spot. During an emergency, you may become separated from family members.
• Choose an out-of-town contact because it is often easier to make long-distance phone call than a local call from a disaster area. Everyone must know the contact’s phone number.
• Complete a family communications plan. Your plan should include contact information for family members, work and school.
• Teach children how to make long-distance phone calls.
• Complete an inventory of home contents and photograph/videotape the house and landscape. Store completed documents in a separate location and/or on a storage thumb drive.

For more detailed information, please visit or

As the temperature drops outside and we think about using our fireplaces and heating stoves, it’s important to remember a few safety tips and precautions. Heating equipment and improper ash disposal are leading causes of home fires during the fall and winter months.

Be warm and safe this season and consider following these safety tips:
• Have heating equipment, chimney and stove inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep every fall just before heating season.
• Allow ashes to COOL before disposing of them. Four days or 96 hours is the minimum recommended cooling period for ashes.
• Place completely cooled ashes in a covered metal container. Keep the container at least 10 feet away from the home and other buildings. They should NEVER be disposed of in a plastic garbage box or can, a cardboard box, or paper grocery bag. Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes.
• The metal container should be placed away from anything flammable. It should not be placed next to a firewood pile, up against or in the garage, on or under a wood deck, or under a porch.
• After sitting for a week in the metal container, check them again to be sure that they are cool. If so, the ashes are then safe to dispose of in your trash.
• As a safety precaution keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a fireplace, wood stove, or any other heating appliance, and create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires. It is important to make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying, and never leave a fire unattended, particularly when children are present.

To obtain a free ash can, residents may fill out an application, available at the Fire District Administration Office, 866 Oriole Way, Incline Village. If the required criteria are met, an ash can will be provided. Inside each ash can, residents will find instructional flyer on how to properly dispose of fireplace ashes. Ash cans will be provided to qualifying residents on a first come, first serve basis.

Lastly, the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District has over 1000 fire hydrants within our fire jurisdiction. By Adopting A Hydrant closest to your home or business and keeping it clear of snow and debris you can help to make our community safer. We appreciate the members of our community who already maintain hydrants in their neighborhood and encourage everyone to participate. Please take a few minutes to fill out the online adoption form and make a hydrant near you a member of your family. Please email your form to Tag yourself in a photo using #AdoptAHydrant2019 and share with us on our facebook page at and our Twitter page at
When maintaining a hydrant please try to ensure that a three-foot clear space is maintained around the hydrant and to the roads edge.

If you notice a fire hydrant that is not marked with a “FH” pole, please let us know by calling our Fire Prevention Bureau at 775-831-0351, ext. 8127. If you notice a damaged or leaking fire hydrant, please call Incline Village General Improvement Public Works at 775-832-1203.

Also, please keep rooftops clear of excessive snow and watch for forming cornices that can pose a dangerous situation. Ask for professional snow removal services to help with this. We also recommend knowing where your gas meter is located and keeping it clear.

We hope this safety information helps you and your family to prepare and plan.

Stay Safe,

Thank you,

Ryan E. Sommers

Fire Chief

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