As we approach the Memorial Day holiday we remember the sacrifice of so many who have sacrificed so much so that we are safe and enjoy the wonderful opportunity of living in such a wonderful nation. Many who have lived through horrific wildfires also remember those who gave so much to protect other’s lives and properties. These individuals, wildland firefighters go in to help when we are leaving. Some have not come back to loving friends and families making the ultimate sacrifice.
It is everyone’s responsibility to make it safer for our wildland firefighters to do their jobs. While we expect these firefighters to respond and try to protect our homes, we should be working with them by acting to adopt Firewise Principals before a wildfire event occurs to make our homes safer and their jobs easier. Many times taking simple maintenance steps such as cleaning leaves and needles out of gutters and off decks, trimming up tree limbs, spacing vegetation, replacing screens with more fire resistive venting systems, making sure that wood piles are not next to the home or under the deck can and does make a difference. We are not helpless. We can take action and make effective changes using Firewise Principals. Perhaps these are a few chores we can do around our house before we have company over.
When a wildfire is approaching your home, if you are asked to evacuate or you leave on your own, put a note on the door so firefighters know you are gone. When you are asked to leave it is important to leave right away so that you do not try to leave when fire trucks are coming in to your neighborhood and you impede their work. If you have time take in anything flammable or throw them off the deck, move wood piles garbage cans or anything flammable away from the home. Move vehicles left behind into the garage or away from the house, and make sure all doors and windows are closed.
Let’s appreciate what they do for us by making their job easier for them as we all act to make this a “Year of Living Less Dangerously From Wildfire.”
For our brave Wildland Firefighters the NFPA has produced a helpful video called Wildfire Safety. We wish you all a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend.