As we hear more tragic stories about loss of life and property due to wildfires, it becomes increasingly important to take steps to implement fire mitigation measures around our homes. With preparation, you can dramatically reduce the risk that wildfire poses to your house, property and community.
Consult with your local firefighting agencies as well as representatives of the nearest State or National Forest Services in your region for the best measures to reduce risk around your home and in your neighborhood. And you can take the following steps on your own:
- Remove all debris from your home’s rain gutters. Check all the nooks and crannies of your roof where dried leaves and pine needles may settle.
- Do not store firewood immediately adjacent to your home.
- Rake and bag up all ground debris—pine needles, cones, and dried leaves, and arrange to have them hauled away from your property.
- Prune dead branches from all trees. Remove dead and dying bushes and other vegetation. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to clear-cut all vegetation and trees. Consult with a tree trimming service or someone from your local fire department who can properly advise you as to how to cut back trees, bushes and shrubbery.
- If there is a fire hydrant located on your property, clear a 3-foot area around it for fire department access.
- Maintain clearly visible house numbers at the entrance to your property and keep the emergency number for the fire department near every phone in your home.
- Check with your homeowners’ association or your local Chamber of Commerce to see what wildfire awareness meetings and seminars are available in your community. Encourage these and other organizations to put such programs into place if they aren’t there already. Community-wide efforts at fire mitigation ensures even greater success.
- Don’t wait to have an evacuation plan in place. Have an emergency evacuation kit at the ready for quick departure that contains the essentials—water, change of clothing, financial information and other important documents. And keep in mind: Ultimately none of this is as important as the safety of you, your family and pets. If it’s a question of escaping safely with only your loved ones in tow, remember: Everything else is ultimately replaceable.
For assistance in implementing fire mitigation measures, remember that you can always call 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find the Handyman Matters location nearest you.