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Summer Guide To Help Fireproof In And Around Your Home

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Fire is both a boon and a danger. It helps us cook our meals and heat our homes and cabins, but it can also destroy a three bedroom house in under 5 minutes. We all saw the devastation visited upon California in the news as many families lost their homes, which shows us that fire can strike at anytime, even in areas we thought were safe. There are plenty of things that we all can do to help prevent a fire from spreading to your home, especially when we are expecting a dry summer like this year. Let’s look at some top fire prevention tips for your home.

Fire extinguisher
First thing’s first: Get a fire extinguisher in your house. Just about any hardware store or big box home supply store sells them and once you have it, remember to check and test it regularly. Having at least one fire extinguisher in your house can help stop a small grease or trash can fire from turning into a raging house fire and it may just save your life by buying you precious seconds in a larger fire. Set a calendar reminder to check your fire extinguisher charge and working condition every six months.

Smoke detectors (and their batteries)
Many of us forget that they are even there, but smoke detectors are an invaluable tool in helping to discover and prevent fires. If your detector alerts you to a small fire in its early stage, you can sometimes put that fire out without losing your entire house in the process. If a fire has gotten too big, then a detector can at least give you a warning to gather your family and evacuate as quickly and safely as possible.

Set in your calendar to change your smoke detector batteries every six months (and test them while you’re at it!). You can line this day up to test and secure your fire extinguishers as well. Two “fire safety” days a year is a small price to pay to help keep your home fire free. Rule of thumb: have at least one smoke detector in every room and hallway of your house. Don’t forget the garage or outbuildings as well. If your shed is on fire, you will want to know as soon as possible before that fire has a chance to spread.

Make a plan
Now that you have your detectors in every room and your extinguishers all set up, it’s time sit down with your family and sketch out a plan for what to do in different fire situations. Go over every scenario you can think of and sketch out a plan of action for each. Here are a few to get started: Fire in the kitchen. Office trash can fire. Fire in the garage. Fire alarms go off at night. Wildfire is approaching from the outside. There are many more!

Make sure you and your loved ones know exactly what to do in each fire situation. Set up rally points and head counts. Make sure they know not to run back in for valuables. Also, don’t forget your pets! Designate you or your spouse the official pet wrangler in the case of an emergency evacuation. As soon as everyone is safely outside, immediately call the fire department and let them know what is going on.

Check your landscape
Wildfires can happen just about anywhere. Whether after a tornado knocks over power lines or spreads flammable materials all around, or if your property is close to a forest or wooded area, threats of fire from outside your home can strike at anytime. You can take steps right now to be prepared and to give your house the best chance of survival. Start with a strong perimeter. This area is known as your defensible space.

Measure a 100 foot circle around your home and make sure that that area is clear of dead vegetation, firewood storage, and scrap lumber. It’s ok to have live vegetation around in this area, but just make sure that it is fairly spread out and isn’t clumped together. Make sure that your hoses are in good working order and can be deployed within seconds of a fire starting. If a wildfire is in your area, make sure to soak the ground around your house and your roof. Burning embers can travel over a mile and still be dangerous.

Fireproof your roof
Is it time to replace your old and sagging roof? When you do, make sure to ask about options that will give you the best fire resistance like slate or other robust building materials. Many builders of new construction homes like Todd Campbell build from the ground up with this in mind. A home is a valuable investment to protect! Be safe out there this summer in Boise and beyond.

 

Karen Boos