© 2022 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
KSOR Header background image 1
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Disasters and Accidents

Medford Launches Interactive Map To Help With Next Disaster

 The City of Medford has created an online map of the city split into 14 zones so people can more easily identify their neighborhood and evacuation routes during a disaster.
City of Medford
The City of Medford has created an online map of the city split into 14 zones so people can more easily identify their neighborhood and evacuation routes during a disaster.

When thousands of people had to evacuate their homes during last year’s wildfires in Jackson County, people got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. That prompted the City of Medford to launched an online map to help people plan ahead for next time.

The online map has the city divided into 14 zones. And each zone has multiple evacuation routes.

Emergency management coordinator Aaron Ott says that’s intentional because during a disaster, some roads might not be accessible.

“This way we hopefully encourage citizens to take a different route just so they understand that there are other ways to get out of the neighborhood,” Ott says.

The map will also make it easier for first responders to know where to direct people as they evacuate. Ott says fire battalion chiefs will have laminated copies on hand.

During last year’s Almeda and Obenchain wildfires, major roads and parts of the Interstate 5 freeway in Jackson County had closed, causing huge backups as people tried to flee the fire.

Many people in the region also weren’t sure which neighborhoods were under what level of evacuation. Medford’s new platform is designed to give people real-time updates on evacuation levels for specific neighborhoods.

Ott says he hopes nearby towns and counties create similar platforms of their own so the region could have a coordinated response if disaster strikes again.

“We definitely want to include other jurisdictions,” Ott says. “I think it would be great to have this be a whole county wide or Southern Oregon-wide initiative.”

People in Jackson and Josephine counties can also sign up for the county’s Citizen Alert system to opt-in to emergency notifications.