Sacramento (CBS13) — As the Camp Fire tore through Paradise, a panicked evacuation followed. Many people trying to escape either got stuck in gridlock or burned alive in their cars.
Now with the death toll climbing, cities everywhere are taking a close look at their own evacuation plans for an emergency.
In Sacramento, that means preparing for catastrophic floods, mega-storms called atmospheric rivers, that experts believe are becoming more powerful due to climate change.
“There is some initiative to seize on the awareness factor of this to say, ‘hey this could absolutely happen to us and this could happen tomorrow,’” said Daniel Bowers, director of Sacramento’s emergency management agency.
Bowers in charge of bringing together the major players, including police, fire, public works, and the department of utilities. All of those agencies are involved in creating a master plan.
Bowers says, in the event of an evacuation, they’d open up all lanes on main freeways, highways, and surface streets, directing traffic away from the disaster, while sending evacuation warnings on smartphones and through social media.
“We will send within those notices where you should evacuate, the route you should go,” he said.
Each city or county’s emergency plan is public record, typically posted on their websites. In fact, officials urge people to familiarize themselves with those maps before it’s too late.
You can find Sacramento’s evacuation plan here.