If a wildfire is a concern in your area, you owe it to yourself to make the appropriate preparations. Making a few critical changes around your home and your property can help protect your home from a fire.
1. Clean Up Your Property
Keeping your property clear of debris and flammable materials will make a significant difference in case a fire occurs. Anything dry and flammable needs to be removed. Dry grass, firewood, old branches, and brush can all be hazardous to your home. You should also consider eliminating your wooden fence or deck.
Try and eliminate all flammable material within 30 feet from your home. Make sure there’s always a path for emergency vehicles to enter your property. Simply having a standing water source on your property can be helpful for firefighters in case of an emergency. Sprinklers are also good but only if they turn on automatically.
2. Protect Your Roof
During a fire, the roof is the most vulnerable part of your home. If any part of your roof is made of wood, you should consider making a replacement. Tile and steel roofs are excellent thanks to their heat resistant qualities. Fiber cement and stucco are also quality options. It’s also worth having a contractor install a non-flammable under layment to improve the fire resistance of your roof.
3. Cover Exterior Openings
Even the smallest ember poses a threat to your home. Sealing off any openings to the outside is an essential part of protecting your home from wildfires. Make sure your eaves and vent openings have the proper screens to catch debris. It’s also a good idea to stuff some 1/8-inch hardware cloth in the openings to trap embers.
Remember to check your roof for any openings from missing tiles or shingles that can allow embers in. Radiant heat from embers can possibly melt your skylights and cause glass windows to burst. Replace all glass and plastic fixtures around your home with tempered glass for added protection.
4. Ensure You Have The Proper Safety Equipment
Having some basic equipment around the home can save you in emergency situations. It’s always helpful to have a sturdy ax around in case you need to make an exit. You can also buy fire safety kits which include items such as a safety hammer, first aid kit, mini fire extinguishers and safety hammers. It’s also convenient to keep a fire blanket on hand in the kitchen.
Having a fire extinguisher is vital if you live in an area prone to wildfires. Make sure the extinguisher can handle different classes of fires as a wildfire can easily spark an electrical fire in your home. It’s also worth preparing an emergency fire kit with a fire blanket to keep in your car.
5. Establish A Perimeter Around Your Home
As previously mentioned, it’s essential to establish a perimeter around your home. Radiant heat from a wildfire can ignite a house up to 100 feet away. The less combustible materials you have in the way, the less likely your house is to catch on fire. Safeguarding a five to ten-foot perimeter around your home can make a significant difference.
It may seem counter intuitive, but plants can actually help protect your home from fire. Plant life can block embers blown by the wind from reaching your home. If you have no plant life at all, all it takes is one item on fire to be blown towards your home. Make sure the vegetation isn’t attached to your home and that you keep it watered regularly.