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4 Posts authored by: faithberry Employee

As the summer comes to an end and we prepare to enjoy more indoor activities, it is important to make sure that home heating appliances are operated properly.  NFPA has a wonderful safety tip sheet about heating safety. It references standards NFPA 97 and NFPA 211, with information about how to safely install and use home heating appliances.  It is so nice to curl up by the fireplace or wood stove with a cup of cocoa, blanket and your pet close by, and even nicer to know that you are safe while doing so.

Some tips to consider are: Puppy

  • Make sure that the equipment is properly installed and vented.
  • Install a carbon dioxide alarm and test. 
  • Make sure that you have a working smoke alarm.
  • Keep anything that can burn (such as paper or wood) three feet away from all heating appliances. 
  • Have chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected by a professional.     
  • Only use the recommended fuel.
  • Dispose of hot ash properly.   Ashes should be cool when placed in a metal container that is kept away from the home.   
  • Never use the oven to heat your home. 
  • Make sure that you have a spark screen in front of the fireplace.
  • Make sure that you have a properly installed chimney cap.  
  • Make sure that tree limbs are 10 feet away and never overhanging the chimney. Keep leaves and pine needles off the roof.

Remember most heating fires occur during the winter months.  Be warm and safe this autumn and winter as we embrace a Year of Living Less Dangerously From Wildfire. YLLDW Banner


Due to the extreme conditions in some areas such as low humidity in the vegetation, extended periods of drought, high temperatures and high winds, extreme caution should be paramount in everyday activities out of doors.  Driving a car is one of the activities we all enjoy during the summer season, especially as we travel for summer vacation time.  Make sure that your road trip is not the cause of a wildfire.  The Arizona Department of Transportation shared some tips: Fire Car

  • Avoid driving or parking your vehicle in tall grass. (Or any tall dry vegetation)
  • Never throw a burning cigarette out of a vehicle.
  • When pulling a trailer, attach safety chains securely; loose chains can drag on the pavement and cause sparks, igniting roadside fires.
  • Look behind you before driving away from fire-sensitive locations, such as areas with tall grass or campsites, to check for signs of a developing fire.
  • Observe “Red Flag” fire-weather warnings. These warnings are issued when weather conditions are conducive to the easy start and rapid spread of wildfires.
  • Always use a spark arrestor on internal-combustion engines.

You can also:

  • Follow all public-use restrictions and access closures – It is important to check with local agencies about any closures before venturing off road.
  • Be prepared – Carry a shovel and a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and OHV.
  • Call 911 immediately if you see a roadside fire and give an accurate description of the size and location of the fire including mile marker information, the side of the road (are you traveling east, west etc.), the last exit you passed or nearest landmark.
    Img_0297
    Image of car fire in Boise from the Bureau of Land Management

Car Fires themselves can be a cause of wildfires.  A June 14th 2015 article in the Boise Weekly, Car Fire Sparks Wildfire Near Jump Creek, shared that; "Firefighters say a car fire—the third in one week—sparked a wildfire that has scorched more than 330 acres, eight miles south of Marsing."  Another article dated June 19th 2015 on the KCRA.com website, Roadside Truck Fire Sparks Wildfire Near Oakhurst, talked about a pickup truck that caused a fire near Oakhurst, California that burnt hundreds of acres. 

Many times simple maintenance items overlooked can cause your car to catch fire.  The NFPA has some interesting statistics on car fires:

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 152,300 automobile fires per year in 2006-2010. These fires caused an average of 209 civilian deaths, 764 civilian injuries, and $536 million in direct property damage.

Facts and Figures
  • Automobile fires were involved in 10% of reported U.S. fires, 6% of U.S. fire deaths.
  • On average, 17 automobile fires were reported per hour. These fires killed an average of four people every week.
  • Mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in roughly two-thirds of the automobile fires.
  • Collisions and overturns were factors in only 4% of highway vehicle fires, but these incidents accounted for three of every five (60%) automobile fire deaths.
  • Only 2% of automobile fires began in fuel tanks or fuel lines, but these incidents caused 15% of the automobile fire death.

You can take simple steps to prevent a car fire: Carsafety


• Have your car serviced regularly by a professionally
trained mechanic. If you spot leaks, your car is not
running properly, get it checked. A well-maintained
car is less likely to have a fire.
• If you must transport gasoline, transport only a small
amount in a certified gas can that is sealed. Keep a
window open for ventilation.
• Gas cans and propane cylinders should never be
transported in the passenger compartment.
• Never park a car where flammables, such as grass,
are touching the catalytic converter.
• Drive safely to avoid an accident.

For more information about car fire safety download the NFPA's car fire safety pdf.  Enjoy your road trip wherever your travel plans take you and have a safe and memorable time.

As we take action to clean up around the homestead after a long winter, let us think about how we can create a Firewise home and landscape, not only focusing on the vegetation surrounding our home, but also the “human treasure” that we simply cannot seem to get rid of.  We all know that someday we

Burning Tires
Tires burning image on Linked in

might need these items.  Many of these treasures, such as old tires, leftover wood, sofas and other furniture items and papers can contribute to debris piles often located in close proximity to the home. This creates a scenario where we have put kindling around the home that will make it easier to ignite if there is a wildfire.  Make sure the items that you are storing do have value.  Hoarding items outside can be just as hazardous as hoarding excess items inside.  The NFPA offers some great resources to help fire service professionals and others with these potentially hazardous conditions. If you choose to keep these items, do not store them next to the home or under the deck, rather put them in the garage or in an enclosed shed.

Even such things as open garbage cans under the eaves, flammable attachments such as trellises with dead vines, coco or rattan door mats, and patio cushions can create hazardous conditions for a home during a wildfire event.   Make sure that your garbage cans have lids and are not located under the eaves of your home. Use nonflammable attachments and remove all dead vegetation away from your home.  If you are going to be away from your home, take door mats and patio cushions inside.

Create a healthy and Firewise homestead this year as you do your spring cleaning so that you can have “A Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire”.

Trashy House 1
Image from Becu website trashy yards
Trashy house 2
Image from Becu website trashy yards

Don't let your home look like this!  Piles of "human treasures"  located in close proximity to a home can act like kindling to a campfire.

A wildfire in Southern California has burned over 1,020 acres and caused evacuations of both homeowners (on Bluff Road, Stagecoach Road, Homestead Road) and livestock at an equestrian area  located at Ingalls Park, 100 6th Street in Norco was caused by an unattended cooking fire according to a CAL FIRE incident report.  The fire located near the Prado Basin between Highway 71 and Highway 91 was 35% contained.

Highway Fire Horses
Highway Fire image from Fox News

 

 

According to a local television report, the fire spread through the area rapidly due to drought conditions and dense dry vegetation. The Basin which usually has water in it this time of year is dry due to the extended drought.  The station reported that CAL FIRE Captain Liz Brown said, “About 500 firefighters were working the front lines. So were two helicopters, though fixed-wing aircraft were not being used," she said.

Because of the type of vegetation burning a lot of smoke has been created causing a dangerous air quality warning to be declared.  Residents in the area are encouraged to stay indoors.

Highway Fire Picture by Daniel Cole AP
Highway Fire image from Daniel Cole AP

 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has some great information about safe grilling practices that homeowners can observe during the coming summer season. According to the NFPA blog, “In 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,800 home and outside fires. These 8,800 fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries and $96 million in direct property damage.”  As we enjoy the outdoors after the winter season, it is wise to take precautions to avoid causing unwanted damage. The NFPA has also created a grilling infographic (PDF,1 MB) for you to use on your website, blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Just download the graphic and place wherever you want to use it.  Have a happy and safe outdoor grilling experience.

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