No home is fireproof, but by taking precautions, you can help prepare your home.
So what can you do to help protect yourself, your home and property from wildfires? Here are some tips for preparing your home and yard against a wildfire.
Create a zone around your house that will slow the wildfire down and possibly direct it around your home. To do this, you must view your yard as a fuel source. Fire will only burn if fuel is present. Fuel can be your landscaping, woodpiles, decks, etc. To create your defensible space, take the following steps within 30 feet of your home, 50 feet if you live in a heavily treed area or 100 feet if your home is on a hillside. If you live in California, a minimum of 100 feet is required.
If the wildfire gets to the house, another line of defense is the type of materials used on your home’s exterior.
Become familiar with your community’s disaster preparedness plans and create a plan for your family. Identify escape routes from your home and neighborhood and designate an emergency meeting place for your family to reunite if you become separated.
Put together an emergency kit that includes first aid supplies; a portable NOAA weather radio; basic tools; a flashlight; work gloves; fresh batteries for each piece of equipment; clothing: blankets; baby items; prescription medications; extra car and house keys; extra eyeglasses; credit cards and cash; important documents, including insurance policies.
Information provided by the Institute for Business & Home Safety. The Institute for Business & Home Safety’s mission is to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other property losses by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.
The information and suggestions presented range from simple weekend tasks to involved projects that may require professional assistance. Before starting on any activity, make sure you are comfortable with the required skill level. If you are uncertain, contact a professional. Report any property damage to your insurance agent or company representative immediately after a wildfire or other natural disaster and make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
A harrowing first-person account of a family outrunning one of the worst blazes in California history.