How To Make Your Home Ready for Fire Season
When is Fire Season?
As the name suggests, fire season is the time in which wildfires and forest fires are most likely to occur. This used to depend on your location but unfortunately, as of 2022, most experts believe that fire season should be considered a year-round situation.
This is particularly true in states like California, where droughts and dry conditions are now ubiquitous due to climate change.
Creating Defensible Space
Defensible space is one of the most useful tools in wildfire preparedness. But what exactly is defensible space and how do you create it? The answer may surprise you.
There’s a good chance that your yard is filled with trees, bushes, and all kinds of plant life. As beautiful as your lawn and gardens are, they’re also a vector for fire to reach your home.
If a forest fire occurs near your home, fallen leaves and bushes can catch fire, and flames might jump from tree branches to your home.
This means that a bit of good, old-fashioned yard work can vastly improve the safety of your home. By maintaining your yard smartly and effectively, you’ll decrease the risk of a wildfire reaching you.
Here’s what to do:
- Rake up leaves, twigs, fallen branches, and any dry, dead, or potentially flammable vegetation
- Trim tree limbs to create a 15-foot gap between your trees and your home.
- If possible, remove any dead tree branches (this will also reduce hazards from falling branches)
- Ask your local power company to trim back trees on your property that are near power lines. Note: It is not safe to do this yourself and most power companies will do this for free.
- Prune shrubs and plants away from dryer outlets, chimneys, and any other location where heat or exhaust emits from your home
- Clear 10 feet of space around your grill or barbecue
- Remove any vines growing on the walls of your home
- Regularly cut your grass and pick up leavings
- Clean leaves and fallen brush from your gutters
Create A Family Fire Escape Plan
Most people are simply not expecting an emergency. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place before any fire emergency occurs.
Nobody wants to be making up an evacuation plan on the fly.
Sit down with your family and spend some time coming up with a basic fire evacuation plan. This doesn’t need to be complicated. Even young children should be able to understand and remember what to do.
Your main goal is to establish a meeting spot outside of your home. This will be a place where the whole family can gather together. Ideally, this should be near a family vehicle so everyone can hop in and drive away together if necessary.
Everyone should know the quickest route to the family meeting spot plus a secondary route if they are cut off by fire or smoke.
Include family pets in your emergency planning. Make sure they are comfortable in their pet carrier. Add treats, toys, and cushions to make it an inviting place. A pet carrier should be a sanctuary to run to when things get scary--not an unpleasant place only used for vet visits and other similarly stressful situations.
Be sure to practice this plan several times with your family, and schedule monthly meetings to refresh everyone on the plan. A prepared family is a safe family!
Give Each Family Member a Fire Escape Kit:
The Go Time Gear Emergency Fire Set is one of the best and simplest ways to prepare yourself for a fire emergency.
The kit includes everything you need to safely evacuate your home during a fire including a high-performance fire mask, heat-resistant gloves, a reflective blanket, and an ultra-bright glow stick.
The smoke mask slips over your head in less than 30 seconds and provides a full 60 minutes of air supply. If you’re in a smoke-filled house, you’ll avoid inhaling smoke or toxic fumes (the number one cause of death in house fires) while a built-in visor protects your eyes as you navigate to safety.
When evacuating a burning home, it can be hazardous to open doors because the fire may be on the other side. Heat-resistant gloves allow you to safely touch the door and knob while ascertaining if it is safe to go through.
Visibility can often be limited during a fire due to both darkness and smoke, so having a source of illumination like the included glow stick can be critical for finding your way out. It will also make you more visible to the fire department if you are overcome by fumes, increasing your chance of rescue.
Even if you don't buy a complete fire kit for every member of your household, consider purchasing a Fire Mask for each member of your family.
This is a great option for the parents of smaller kids and toddlers. You’ll be able to lead your little ones to safety while the mask protects them from smoke inhalation.
Maintaining a fire preparedness routine is key to keeping your home and your family safe from wildland fires. Setting recurring reminders on your phone or digital calendar is a great way to ensure you don't forget.
Here are a few simple things you can regularly do to keep your home ready:
- Test your smoke alarms once every month
- Replace smoke alarm batteries once per year, even if you think the batteries are still working
- Keep practicing your family fire survival routine every month, especially in drought conditions
- If you have a two-story house, keep a ladder on hand that will reach your highest window
- Pack your car with snacks, water, extra fuel, and batteries in case you have to flee in it
Keep following the Go Time Gear Academy for fire safety tips and other sensible advice about how to stay safe and prepared!
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