Preparing for wildfire: Berkeley holds Sunday morning evacuation drill

"Fire. Evacuate now."

It was that simple alert that came across cell phones in Berkeley Sunday morning for the city's third and final evacuation drill.

The alerts are a first step in preparing for an emergency.

Step two is to have an evacuation plan, that's where the Berkeley Fire Department comes in.

"We have come up with an evacuation plan in Berkeley we need the public to be aware of it, and we need to practice it," said Fire Chief Dave Brannigan.

Those who signed up for the drill got the alerts, evacuated and came to a mock shelter where they talked about what worked and what needed improvement. 

"We have a number of people on our street who are wheelchair bound, immobile. A suggestion I wrote was to have a registry of people who might need public assistance," said Bob Stokstad who participated in the drill.

A similar drill was held in Sonoma County Saturday, an area ravaged by the 2017 North Bay fires.

Some in Berkeley may not think it could happen to them, but it has before, "The '91 tunnel fire a lot of the significant problems that happened were because cars got jammed up people had to get out on foot and some couldn't get out in time," said Brannigan.

That's why planning ahead and practicing is so important and many here take it seriously.

"If you have to start thinking on your feet with a fire breathing down your neck that's not so good," said Stokstad.