How To – Preparing Your home to survive a Wild Fire

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    Unfortunately many communities are hit by wild fires and your location in the United States really does not matter all areas are effected to some degree.

    Trying to protect your home from wild fires may not work in every situation but if you take steps before you are effected you may find that your home survives. We have all seen pictures where a few homes on a street survive without damage while the rest of the homes are burnt to the ground. All you can do is try your best and prepare with understanding of what things contribute to home loss.

    The first thing you must decide is if your structure can even be protected independent of others in your neighborhood. Your best chance is when you have at least 30 feet of distance between you and your neighbors home but the farther the better.

    When homes burn they put off extreme amounts of heat because of the materials used to build them and the items inside.

    Since ignition happens from the exterior of your home the material your home is made of or sheathed with will have a large influence on its ability to withstand fire.

    Like the three little pigs homes that are made of stone, brick or even stucco faced have a better chance then those that are sheathed in wood or vinyl.

    Roofs are also a concern and asphalt shingles that are made of fiberglass saturated in petroleum are basically like placing a large wick or light me here sign on your home. Metal, tile and fire resistant roofing will more then likely mean the difference between your home being a casualty or not and for this reason the State of California has banned the use of non fire resistant materials for roofing in most residential areas.

    So your home has vinyl siding and asphalt roof shingles should you just give up or move or call a contractor to rebuild your home?

    Actually there are some things that you can do to lower your risk. Whether you upgrade your home is up to you. Many locations that have been hit many times by fire will offer local incentives but if you are replacing a roof or residing your home then is the time to definitely make the upgrade changes.

    What can I do to my existing property to protect it from Wild Fires?

    The basic idea when protecting your home is to provide as much distance between your home and any item that could transfer fire to it.

    Within thirty feet of your home you should remove any trees that are potential hazards. This would include any overhanging trees or any trees that come in direct contact with your home. Large bushes can provide the same problem and if you have beds around your home you may want to move the bushes away from your house and plant flower beds.

    A green lawn will not burn. Within 100 feet of your home you should keep your lawn managed to remove any brush height weeds an use a non-combustible mulch material in any beds that are within the first 10 feet of your home. Stone works well but other materials can be used if they are fire rated.

    Wood piles or sheds that store gasoline should be at least 50 feet from your home and if you use propane for heating your storage tank should be located as remotely as possible with in reason… meaning over 50 feet if your property permits.

    Have a hose that can reach all areas of your home and roof attached at all times. Storage boxes can normally hold up to about 100 feet of hose. Keep the hose outside so you do not need to reenter the home or attached garage to get it.

    Keep your BBQ at least 15 feet from your home when you are using it and at the same distance if you store fuel such as propane tanks or lighter fluid at the BBQ when it is not in use.

    A gasoline operated brown water pump can be used to get water from a pond or your swimming pool to your home. If you have access to alternate water storage place the pump in an out building along with gasoline far enough away from your home that it is not a danger.

    Sprinklers can be installed on your roof to stop fires from spreading. You can contact your local plumbing supply center or fire marshal on how you can install a system without need for annual inspection.

    Have an Emergency Plan in case of Fire

    Everyone in your home should understand what you will do in case of a fire emergency.

    If members of your family are not home you should have a way to contact them and set a meeting place far enough away from your home that it will not be within the distance of the fire. You may want to meet at a local fire station or store and pick a specific area of the parking lot where you will meet.

    You should also have a third party that lives some distance from you that you can all call and notify. Maybe a relative in another state, a parent’s workplace or you could even call a local fire station and leave a message for your other family members.

    It is also a good idea to keep in mind any hotels that you may want to use for shelter. Although your local school or firehouse may offer temporary help you may need extended shelter. Keep a list of local and next town over hotels in your wallet or vehicle.


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