Wildfire – Bee Prepared…Today!
Post by: William J.P. Smith
Throughout the years the Smokey Bear campaign has been educating the public about the dangers of wildfires. Sadly, many people still don’t take the time to prepare themselves. One of the biggest wildfires in recent years was the Station Fire in Los Angeles County, California that burned over 160,000 acres, killing two firefighters and destroying 209 structures, including 89 homes.
During the Station Fire incident, another wildfire in L.A. County occurred in my old hometown of Rancho Palos Verdes. The fire was located just outside the Portuguese Bend neighborhood that I grew up in. While monitoring the incident online I could see that the residents in the affected area were vastly unprepared as the order to evacuate was given.
Many people have a misconception that wildfires only occur during hot summer months. Even though most of them do, they can occur at any time and firefighters have already battled some large wildfires this year. Now is the time to think about your wildfire preparedness plan.
It is important to assess your property for hazards and take fire prevention measures. With advanced wildfire planning and preparation, you can dramatically increase your safety and the survivability of your property.
There are steps that you can take to protect your property. Some of the more important steps to take are to create a 30 to 100 foot safety zone (Defensible space) around your home that is clear of dry brush, vegetation and other combustible rubbish around that could provide fuel for wildfires. Make sure your property is identified with an address marker that is visible both day and night. Driveway must be unobstructed and have adequate clearance for emergency vehicles.
Assemble an emergency supply kit and keep an extra kit in your vehicle in case you can’t get to your home because of fire. Have an evacuation plan for your family including several different evacuation routes. Create a meeting location outside of fire hazard areas. Make sure family members know where to meet if an evacuation occurs when they are away from home. Practice your evacuation routes. Practicing your plan makes the appropriate response more of a reaction, requiring less thinking during an actual emergency situation.
Wildfire preparedness resources:
http://www.readyforwildfire.org/ http://1.usa.gov/WildfireSafety http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/wildfire/index.shtm