We often talk about how the little things around your home can be a big deal when it comes to wildfire risk. Ignoring them can mean big losses, dealing with them can pay off in big risk reduction. These little things include vents. Vents in your home are openings that can allow embers from wildfires to enter the structure and ignite combustibles in the attic or crawl spaces of the home. Vents in your eaves, vents in your siding, dryer vents and vents in your roof and gables are all a BIG deal.
Dr. Steve Quarles, Ph.D., is a research scientist with the Institute for Business and Home Safety, (IBHS), and has done a significant amount of work on embers in wildfires and the vulnerability of vents in structures. In cooperation with the Savannah River National Laboratory, Dr. Quarles uses a large ember generator to test various types of vents and their vulnerability. This You Tube video shows that even with the recommended 1/8” mesh screening that embers still penetrate.
IBHS suggests checking with your local Fire and/or Building Officials to learn about what new commercial products are allowed in your area to help protect your vents. You can also learn about all the wildfire hazards to your home through IBHS’ “Wildfire Home Assessment & Checklist”, all based on scientific research that they have done. And don’t forget to check out NFPA’s Firewise program. We have a wealth of information to help you reduce your wildfire risk.
Don't wait until there is smoke in the air. It’s your home. You own the risk around your home. Act now to live this year less dangerously from wildfire.
photo credit: top-IBHS; bottom -NFPA Firewise photo library