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How to Protect Your Home and Family From Wildfires



How to protect your home and family from wildfires

Your home is your castle, your place of peace and quiet and the place where you raise your family and create wonderful memories. There is little that you won’t do to protect it. Not every type of damage can be avoided, however, and Mother Nature is rarely agreeable to homeowners. In certain areas of the world, your home can be put in jeopardy from out of control wildfires that happen without any warning.

Wildfires, especially on the highly populated west coast of the United States, have caused millions of dollars of damage in the past, ruining homes, property and families. In most cases, the trigger for such wildfires is purely environmental, but in some instances there is a man-made element to the fires. In the PG&E fires in California, for instance, fires have been said to be started due to lack of proper clearance of foliage and waste. If you or someone you know was affected by these careless fires find out about your rights at

For families that are concerned that the geographical area in which they are located may be at risk for wildfires, there are certain things that you can do to help protect your property and home. Being a proactive homeowner can save you not only worry and stress, but the cost of repairing expensive damages.

Read: Five Ways to Prepare Your Children for a Fire Emergency

Clear the Area Around Your Home

  • Keep your lawn cut short and watered to avoid any dry spots that could potentially ignite quickly in a fire situation.
  • Clear away any dead foliage, trees or brush from the area regularly.
  • Store firewood in a fire safe metal container away from any buildings or structures.
  • Rake all leaves promptly before they dry out and become an ignition hazard.
  • Invest in a perimeter sprinkler system that can douse the outlying area of your home in a fire emergency.
  • Create a fire-safe perimeter around your home of 5 – 10ft using crushed gravel, stone pavers or fire-resistant decking.
  • Don’t use any decorative items that are flammable around your house like wooden trellises, benches or patio decks.

Fireproof Your Roof & Windows

  • Use fire resistant tiles, shingles or steel roofing materials when constructing or upgrading your roof — most roofs catch fire from sparks floating around in the heat and not directly from flames.
  • Install ember resistant vents in all areas to limit any sparks from entering the ventilation system.
  • Using fire-resistant shutters paired with fire-retardant drapery fabrics on your windows will increase your chance of avoiding internal fires.
  • Keep your gutters and eaves clean from debris or have them covered.

Prepare Your Family

  • Have an organized emergency plan in place with your entire family and practice it on a regular basis. This can eliminate some of the instinct to panic in a trauma situation.
  • Make sure that all of your valuables and things that you want to take with you — should you need to evacuate — are ready to go and organized.
  • Make a plan for your pets. Have carriers or cages ready in your garage or near your front door.
  • Invest in a firebox or safe for all of your important documents and keep them organized and together.
  • Have a reliable external hard drive for your electronics and back them up regularly.
  • Evacuate quickly — DON’T WAIT. Wildfires can burn out of control and there is no way to know when they may suddenly turn direction.
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