In order to prevent the start of wildfires in Kyle, and to slow down any that might get started or find their way into the city, residents and business owners are being asked to do their part in removing brush, mowing tall grass and weeds, and preparing should the need arise. Residents are also being asked to take some time to prepare should a wildfire, or other emergency, threaten our area.
One primary concern is that the extreme drought conditions have resulted in many residents having to deal with dead trees and bushes in their yards. These can serve as fuel for fires and, if not removed, can cause a fire to spread and/or intensify. In order to help remove these materials, The Kyle Parks and Recreation Department is setting up brush drop off sites in the City’s three main city parks. These sites will be fenced and marked with a sign for residents to drop off their dead trees and brush. The parks are Gregg- Clarke Park, Steeplechase Park and Waterleaf Park and they will begin accepting brush on October 1, 2011, and will continue the program until February 29, 2012.
Materials not accepted at the parks will be fencing or other forms of trash and/or debris. Residents are also encouraged to take advantage of their once per year On-Call Brush or Bulk collection from Texas Disposal Systems (TDS). This service is available to all City of Kyle residents through the new solid waste contract approved earlier this year by the Kyle City Council. Call TDS Customer Care at 1-800-375-8375 for more information or to schedule your pick up.
Residents are asked to remember that City crews cannot help with removing these trees, brush and bushes from private yards and that property owners will need to make their own arrangements to have the brush delivered to the parks. Any material collected at the parks will be turned into mulch to use in the city’s parks and trails.
City inspectors have also been working to identify areas that are in need of clearing or creating buffer zones to prevent the spread of fires. As these areas are identified, the landowners are being notified and asked to take the prescribed preventive measures.
The slightest spark can start a wildfire in the current dry conditions. Fire officials are asking that residents take special care when doing even the most routine activities. Here are some basic tips for preventing fires:
• Create a defensible space of at least 30 feet around your house and outbuildings; closely mow lawns, and trees should be pruned and spaced widely apart.
• Establish “fire” breaks along roadways and between buildings and fields or woodlands.
• Keep mufflers and spark arresters on agricultural equipment in proper working order and watch
out for rocks and metal when bush hogging or mowing
• Monitor hay-baling operations closely, dry hay can ignite within the baler
• Watch out for sparks when using welding equipment to build fences or repair equipment
• Avoid driving or parking vehicles in grassy areas where tall, dry grass comes into contact with hot pollution control equipment under vehicles
• Postpone outdoor burning until permitted by the fire marshal
• Take advantage of your allowed outdoor watering days to keep lawn and trees from drying out
• Carefully discard all smoking material
• Be sure that outdoor grilling is done on concrete or on green grass that has been recently watered
• Do not use personal BBQ grills in city parks, only use the grills that are permanently installed in the park
Being prepared for an emergency can be the difference between life and death. It can also mean that you will have various essentials that will make living through an emergency more manageable. Here are some things to remember and prepare in case of an emergency:
Things to include in a basic emergency supply kit:
• Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
• Local maps
• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Additional Items To Consider Adding To An Emergency Supply Kit:
• Prescription medications and glasses
• Infant formula and diapers
• Pet food and extra water for your pet
• Cash or traveler's checks and change
• Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) - PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
• Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
• Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.
• Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
• Fire Extinguisher
• Matches in a waterproof container
• Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
• Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
• Paper and pencil
• Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Plan for an emergency
It is best to know ahead of time what you will do if you need to react to an emergency. Keep in mind that every emergency is different, but some basic advance planning will go a long way to ensure your safety. Here are some ideas to consider:
• Identify an out-of town contact. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
• Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
• Teach family members how to use text messaging (also known as SMS or Short Message Service). Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
• Subscribe to alert services. The City of Kyle uses the CodeRed system to send emergency notifications. Be sure your information is current by going to www.cityofkyle.com/communications/code-red to update your information.
Help for those that may not be able to help themselves
It is important for emergency responders to know about residents who may not be able to respond by themselves to an emergency situation. Be sure to know about neighbors and family members who may not be reached by normal communications. People with sight and hearing deficiencies, the elderly, or anyone who might need additional assistance will need to be accounted for. The City of Kyle, along with the Kyle Fire Department, is creating a list of residents who may need assistance during an emergency. If you’d like to suggest someone for this list, please call the Kyle Police Department at 512-268-0859. The police department will verify the information and obtain consent from any individuals before finalizing a name of the list.
Keep in mind that emergency situations can arise suddenly and without warning. That is way it is important to prepare in advance should an emergency occur. Be sure to watch and listen to local news reports and check the City of Kyle web site at cityofkyle.com for the latest information.