Fires preparation measures to protect yourself and fortify your home.
Being prepared can bring peace of mind. Take action in advance of a wildfire to harden your home and make it less susceptible as well as prepare for evacuation and safety protocols.
Fortify your property before a fire occurs
Home hardening: The unique building characteristics of a home affect the amount of damage a home may sustain in a wildfire. You can improve your home’s survivability by updating building materials, windows, roofs, or nearby vegetation to reduce the risk of ignition from embers. To reduce your property’s vulnerability you may want to consider:
- Clearing debris from roofs and gutters regularly
- Ensure roofs are fire resistant
- Non-combustible or ignition-resistant siding
- Multi-pane windows or tempered glass
- Install or upgrade vent screens
- Ensure items are not stored under decks
Manage your home’s ignition zone: Strategic management of the area around your home is essential for disrupting a wildfire’s ability to burn the home structure itself. Reducing this area’s susceptibility to burn can not only help protect your home, but it can also help make burn management safer for first responders. The home ignition zone is broken up into 3 subzones:
- The immediate zone (within 5 ft of the home) should be clear of any plants and other combustible materials.
- The mid-zone (5-30 ft of home) should be clear of all flammable materials such as dry grass, dense shrubbery, or felled trees to reduce the ability of flames or embers to reach and ignite the home. Non-combustible hardscapes, such as concrete paving, gravel, and stone can reduce the risk of fuels accumulating and slow the speed of the fire.
- In the far zone (30-100+ ft of home) thin or cut areas of thick/dense vegetation where fuels accumulate on or near your property can help reduce the risk that a fire will come within the ignition distance of your home.
Protect the contents of your home
Create a home inventory: Catalog any possessions or valuables that will need to be replaced in the event of a fire. Invest in a fireproof safe or lockbox for items that cannot be replaced or will be required to start the rebuilding process after a fire.
Check your insurance: Fire insurance is typically included in homeowners insurance but in some areas, it needs to be purchased separately. Most homeowners insurance typically includes fire coverage but in some areas, this will need to be purchased separately. Compare fire insurance quotes at Hippo.
Gather emergency necessities
Fire safety checklist: Create a checklist of items to have on hand in advance of a fire such as a fireproof case for important documents, N95 masks or HEPA filters to protect you from smoke, and emergency supplies. Be sure you know where all the nearby water sources are located should your local fire department need to connect to any.
Emergency contacts: Make sure you are familiar with your local emergency notifications and evacuation systems. If you are not you can get information from your local fire department or government.
Be prepared to evacuate
Plan evacuation routes: Create a wildfire action plan that includes several evacuation routes and exits in case any are closed off. You can use the maps on Fire Factor® to determine which routes might be safest. You should also determine where to go, assign a meeting place, and prepare an emergency kit list and an emergency contact list to help you stay up to date on fire progress.
Animal/pet plan: Determine where you can evacuate animals or pets in case of a wildfire as not all shelters will allow pets.
To learn more about how you can protect your home from wildfires visit disastersafety.org