This month, National Preparedness Month, let’s take steps today to prepare ourselves, family and friends for wildfire. This week's theme is, "Make a plan for yourself, family and friends." NFPA makes it easy for you to make a plan that can help make you safer and help you better protect your home during a wildfire event.
Wildfires are one disaster where preparations made in advance of the event can really pay off. You can create a wildfire preparedness plan in two steps, one for larger projects and some that are simple and easy to do and can be quickly accomplished with everyone’s help.
Some larger projects that you can do around your home include:
- Clear. Clear off pine needles, dead leaves and anything that can burn from your roof lines, gutters, decks, porches, patios and along fence lines. That way falling embers will have nothing to burn.
- Screen and Seal. Wind-borne embers can get into homes easily through vents and other openings and burn the home from the inside-out. Walk around your house to see what openings you can screen or seal up.
- Trim. Trim back any shrubs or tree branches that come closer than five feet to the house and attachments and any overhanging branches.
Some last minute quick and easy things to do before an approaching wildfire, if you have time to safely complete, include:
- Store Away. Store away furniture cushions, rattan mats, potted plants and other decorations from decks porches and patios. These items can catch embers and help ignite your home if you leave them outside.
- Rake. Embers landing in mulch that touches your house, deck or fence is a big fire hazard. Rake out any landscaping mulch to at least 5 feet away.
- Remove. Walk around your house and remove anything within 30 feet that could burn, such as woodpiles, spare lumber, vehicles, and boats – anything that can act as a large fuel source.
- Close. If ordered to evacuate, make sure all windows and doors are closed tightly, and seal up any pet doors. Many homes are destroyed by embers entering these openings and burning the house from the inside-out.
Walk around your home today and think about where the weak links may be. Better yet, bring someone with you to look for these hazards around your home. The second set of eyes may see something that you have overlooked.
Don’t let your home be fuel for a wildfire. NFPA’s Firewise Program has some great tips that can make it easier for you and everyone in your family to make a plan and do something today to make your home safer. Download NFPA’s Free PDF, 7 Ways Residents Can Reduce Their Wildfire Risk, to help get started.