Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fire Safety

Hello loyal readers of my sister,

I’ve been invited to write here as a guest for a while now but with fire season, remodeling a house, and getting married, it has been hard to find the time!Since this blog has a lot to do with homesteading, I would like to give you some pointers on keeping your homestead fire safe! We all know about fire escape plans, smoke alarms, and stop/drop/roll stuff, but how many of us home owners think about wildfire safety?

A home we protected by Big Sur, CA.

 - Note the empty space around the home and our burnout (the black just off the grass) to create a fireline.

Through my fire career, I have been assigned to many operations involving structure protection. From boyscout camps, to homes in Big Sur, and even the Okefenokee Swamp Park. The key word in protecting your homestead from wildfire is “defensible space”. Defensible space can be described as at least 100ft of space around the home and any structures (barns, chicken coops, garages) clear from brush, woodpiles, or anything that is fuel for the fire. Try to clean out ground litter, messy brush around the house or deck, any timber litter on the roof and gutters (on that note, aim for tin roofs instead of shake shingles). If you don’t want to remove bushes, trees, or vines try to keep them neatly trimmed. Don’t forget to look for low hanging branches above your structures too!

When firefighters arrive at your home, most of the time the homeowners will be evacuated so the firefighters can do their job uninterrupted. They will assess homes and decide what they have time to protect and what is feasible to protect from a standpoint of safety. If your home is not prepped, they may decide it is not safe to protect when the fire front comes through. If they have more time, they will set up a system to protect your home. This may include sprinklers, hoses, burnout operations, or they may “gel” your house (a fire retardant gel they spray all over you home-see above).

Some good ideas when you are evacuated:

-Leave your doors unlocked, usually in areas that are evacuated there is law enforcement to secure the area. In extreme situations, firefighters have been known to seek safety inside houses incases of burnovers.
-Leave a note in a visible place notifying firefighters how to run your water or irrigation systems, where hoses and sprinklers are located, and what pets you may have left, along with any other concerns and a number to contact you in an emergency.
-Take the things you can’t replace (photos, computer hard drives, heirlooms).

Firefighters will do their best to save your home, but it is important to realize that homes are covered by insurance, where as the lives of firefighters can not be recovered in a claim. Your home is NEVER worth the life of a firefighter.

Bad Definsible Space: Leads to Bad Results:


  1. So important to be prepared...Very frightening photos! Thanks for sharing this valuable info.

  2. Good post. Very informative.
    I live in Texas and we've had our fair share of fires in this state this year.

    Years ago...we had a fire that DID encroach our property. It was very scary.
    Not until now, have I begun to try and prepare for these types of situations.

    Thanks for the information.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I love hearing from my readers.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...