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Evacuation Guidelines and Terms

Definitions of Fire Terms

Shelter in Place means a person should go indoors and shut and lock all doors and windows.  Prepare to self-sustain until further notice and / or you are contacted by emergency personnel providing additional direction.

An evacuation warning means there is a potential threat to life and / or property.  Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets / livestock should leave now.

An Evacuation Order means there is immediate threat to life.  This is a lawful order to leave now.  The area is lawfully closed to public access.

Evacuation Order Lifted is the term used to formally announce lifting evacuations in an area currently under evacuation.

Hard Closure means roads are closed to all traffic except fire and law enforcement.

Soft Closure means roads are closed to all traffic except fire, law enforcement and critical incident resources (i.e. utility workers, Caltrans, city / county roads, etc. and those other workers needing to repair or restore infrastructure).

Resident Only Closure is a soft closure with additional allowances of residents and local government agencies assisting with response and recovery.

The principle of evacuation is to move citizens from a place of relative danger to a place of relative safety, via a route that does not pose significant danger. Below is an explanation to common legal concerns during these circumstances.

According to Penal Code Section 409.5 (c), any unauthorized person who willfully and knowingly enters an area closed pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) and who willfully remains within the area after receiving notice to evacuate or leave shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.  This misdemeanor occurs only if a person both enters a closed disaster area knowing it to be closed and subsequently refuses to leave when ordered to do so.

No crime is committed by a person occupying his or her home prior to the closing of the area and subsequently refuses to leave when ordered to do so.

While it is evident that PC 409.5 contains the authority to dissuade persons from entering an area designated as an emergency area, it cannot be used to mandate persons into leaving their residence. The overriding concern of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office is the safety of its citizens in the unincorporated areas.

If you are evacuated.....

Remain calm

·         Follow instructions from Deputy Sheriff's and Fire Officers.

·         Turn off all appliances.

·         Close doors and windows.

·         Lock your house.

·         Stay clear of emergency vehicles.

What to take

·         Keys

·         Pets

·         Photos

·         Personal electronics (computer, cell phone, tablet)

·         Medications and eye glasses

·         Valuable papers (including something with your physical address printed for re-entry)

When You're Safe

·         Call your relatives after evacuation.

·         Necessary support, resources and subsistence will be provided at the shelters designated for evacuation.

Help with Animals

·         If you are in need of help transporting animals out during a fire, the Central California Animal Disaster Team is available to assist. Please visit: Links are available on the website for you to fill out a request form.

·         If you wish to volunteer or donate to CCADT, utilize the website above.

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