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Many times it is the simple tasks accomplished by a community working together that can make a difference.  It does not cost a lot of money to make Firewise improvements to your home and property that can make a difference, and give your property a fighting chance against wildfire loss.  So let’s learn how we can roll up our sleeves and follow the lead of these two hardworking communities and reduce our risk of loss during a wildfire.

 

Trahlyta Estates at Dahlonega, Georgia

On Firewise Day the residents of Trahlyta Estates held a community cleanup workday. They cleared roads and right of ways of fuels, such as leaves, sticks, and logs. They reduced fuels around houses, and they cleaned off roofs and gutters to keep them debris free.

Trahlyta Estates says, “Our whole community pitches in. Firewise helps to create a sense of community.”

 

Spring Cove at Blairsville, Georgia

On Firewise Day, Spring Cove conducted a controlled burn to reduce fuels around the community. The community also sponsors a “chipper day” every year to assist the homeowners in reducing fuels around their homes.

Spring Cove tells us, “Firewise Day is a lot of work, but it is worth it.”

With the growing concern for diseases that can be spread by insects such as the Zika and West Nile virus by mosquitos as well as Lymes disease by ticks, insect bites have become a growing safety concern for wildland firefighters, especially as we enter the warm summer months and growing populations of these insects Bug.pngdoes occur.  A new twist in this safety issue is the safety of the wildland firefighter once insecticide is applied to their turn-outs/gear.  A technical tip sheet provided by the US Forest Service provides some research information from the Missoula Technology and Development Center about the use of insecticides by wildland firefighters.

 

HIZ Class.jpgFrom my online research, I discovered that some insecticides are highly flammable and can actually lower the flame retardant factor in wildland firefighter’s clothing.  According to an article that I read flash fires have been reported from the use of flammable insecticides applied.  This can compromise firefighter safety.  There are alternative types of insecticides that can be used.  Firefighters need to take additional precautions when choosing insecticides that may not be applied directly to the skin.

 

According to the article, “It is important to check how your FR (Fire Rated) products have been made, what materials are used and to follow the proper procedures regarding appropriate maintenance to make sure they keep working effectively. This will ultimately work to keep your FR clothing in top shape so you can stay protected and safe.”

 

The NFPA is in the process of developing an initial draft document 1877 Standard for the Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Wildland Fire Fighting Clothing and Equipment.  If you are interested in serving on the technical committee or would like to submit Public Inputs go to www.nfpa.org/1877 or please connect with the NFPA on the NFPA Exchange.

Photo from NFPA's Firewise Day submittals.  Picture created by Faith Berry

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