This might sound offensive but…
…No matter where you live, no matter how smart you are or how strong you believe that “it just can’t happen to me”, wildfires are real and they do happen when you least expect.
Many people who believed the same thing were unfortunately brought with their feet on the ground by catastrophic wildfires which left them homeless or even worse.
By the time you finish punching your chest like King Kong thinking this is just one of those unfortunate stories you sometimes come across online, you may see that smoke is coming from your kitchen followed by a devastating explosion.
1. Assess your home for fire damage
In this case, flat panic is definitely not the best way to go forward and instead, you should be proactive about making sure your property receives as little damage as possible. But let’s make it better for you and rewind the tape to when you thought this couldn’t happen to you.
Things just suddenly got better, didn’t they?
Well, now that you’re aware it can happen to you, let’s see what you can do in order to assess the risk of your house catching fire and how you can prevent that from happening.
If you’re all set, then let’s begin with a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself as following:
1. What changes do I need to consider in order to minimize the fire risk both on my land and in my home?
2. What can I do right now so that my property is not going to catch fire?
3. Are there any landscape features that may burn easily?
4. If so, are they close to my house, my sheds or any outbuildings?
5. What direction does a wildfire generally come from?
6. How high is the risk of a wildfire spreading on my property?
When you ask yourself these questions, you’ll be one step closer to taking meaningful action that can help you fight off a wildfire and make sure it won’t spread to other parts of your home and even to nearby properties.
2. Preparing your home’s surroundings
Are there any dead trees around it?
How about dead vegetation?
Any flammable substances or materials?
If the answer is yes, then you may want to begin getting rid of them as soon as possible.
Call a ranger or maybe a specialized service to help you cut down those dead trees and remove the dead vegetation. As for your part in this, you should remove the objects around your property that can easily catch fire and even cause an explosion (such as gas tanks, your car, etc). If you live in an area where the climate is very hot, one thing that you could do in order to limit the chances of a wildfire occurring is to keep your property and the surroundings well watered. Get your garden hose ready and start pumping some water on your house and in your front and backyard to make sure everything stays cool for the rest of the day.
Now a lot of people have sheds near their homes where they store a lot of materials and objects that are likely to catch fire easily. Depending on the type of shed you have, you can either choose to move it or if that is not possible, you may be forced to cover it with a special cover that protects it from catching fire. As for dead vegetation, trees and any other landscape features that may be at risk, they have to sit at least twenty feet away from the nearest structure.
3. Don’t plant highly flammable plants and trees
Did you know that certain plants and trees burn much faster than others and can also generate a lot of heat that will likely cause a wildfire to spread?
Therefore, if you have Hickory, Oak, Black Locust, Beech and White Ash trees around your house, you’d better get rid of them as soon as possible. If that’s not an option, you may want to consider spraying them with substances that make it hard for them to burn.
If you don’t know too much about this, then that’s okay, since you just need to ask your local landscaper and he’ll know what to recommend you. Always have rocks surrounding the trees, since if a fire occurs, it won’t get to spread further.
4. Your family’s safety is vital
If a wildfire breaks out, you want to make sure that everyone in your family will get away from it without being hurt, since that’s the reason you’ve been advised to take all the aforementioned measures, didn’t you?
Making an evacuation plan on what you will do in case of a massive wildfire should include your family as well. You need to make the plan in such a way that at any given time you know exactly what each family member is doing or plans on doing. All of you need to be on the same page if you want everyone to make it out alive. So for example, while you are going to take your kids out of the house, your wife may already be on the phone calling the fire department. At the end of the day, it’s obvious that working as a team you’ll have a much higher chance of getting to safety and saving what can be saved from your house.
5. Strategically placing fire extinguishers
It’s recommended that every home has at least one fire extinguisher (depending on how big your house is), but the thing is that these need to be placed in strategic parts of it. At any given moment, no matter where the fire breaks loose, you need to be able to reach a fire extinguisher and put it out before it spreads to other areas of your home. Therefore, not only will you need to have them inside, but you also need to have fire extinguishers available outside. Outdoor water hoses are even better, since they can help you fight the fire from a distance which reduces the risks of getting hurt in the process.
Learning more about how prone your property is to catching fire and taking the right measures to prevent one from happening is certainly going to help you and your family feel safer.
Do You Have An To-Up-Date Fire Safety Plan In Place For Your Home ?
You don’t need to spend a lot of creating it. You just need to a few secrets.
I usually start creating my fire safety plan by having a tactical guide to follow.
If you want to safeguard you home and family from losing everything in a fire…check out our step-by-step The Ultimate Guide To Surviving A Wildfire