Steps to Stay Prepared For a Wildfire
5 Steps to Be Prepared for a Wildfire
Wildfires are scary, but they can be prevented if you know what to do. Here are five tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for staying prepared in case of a wildfire:
Create a defensible space.
Creating a defensible space around your home can help to keep wildfires from spreading to your property. A defensible space is an area that is free of highly combustible materials, such as dense grasses and shrubbery. It's important to create firebreaks around the perimeter of your home because it helps to protect your house and other buildings from the heat and intense flames of a wildfire.
Creating a buffer zone between this flammable material and your home makes it more difficult for fires to ignite or spread onto your property, keeping you safer in case of fire danger.
Clear your roof of any kind of debris.
Be sure to clear your roof of any kind of debris. This includes leaves, pine needles, and any other flammable material. You should also make sure that your trees are healthy and aren't close to power lines or touching your house. Finally, be sure you have a ladder that's in good condition and know how to use it safely.
Clean out your gutters.
An important step to staying prepared for a wildfire is keeping your gutters clear. The gutter is the first line of defense against wildfires, as they are designed to catch leaves and other debris before they can fall into your home. To keep gutters clear and working properly, you should clean them at least twice a year with a leaf blower or rake.
Secure the space between any wooden structures on your property.
You should also make sure that the space between your home and any wooden structures on your property, like wood fences or decks, is clear of debris. Remove leaves, branches and other debris from the area.
Remove any dead plants or trees from around your house. Remove dry grasses and weeds from beneath the eaves of your home, especially if they have grown up against windows or doors. Also keep firewood and other combustible materials away from your home.
Use a screen to prevent a fire from igniting on the ground outside your home.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove, always use a screen to prevent a fire from igniting on the ground outside your home. Even if the screen is in place and functioning properly, there are still ways that your house can be vulnerable to catching fire.
To prevent fires from starting on your deck:
- Never leave furniture on decks when they're exposed to outdoor temperatures; make sure all combustible items are stored away safely indoors when they're off limits to human contact.
- If using propane tanks outdoors (e.g., for barbecue grills), store them in secure containers rather than leaving them out in the open.
If a wildfire threatens your home, don’t wait for help to come. Take action yourself. If you think about these steps before the fire arrives, you’ll be able to respond quickly and safely when it does.