Wildfires are a scary thing that happen, and for people in Colorado they are a real threat to homes and lives.
While wildfires are something that sometimes cannot be controlled, there are things you can do to help protect your home and yourself against them.
Make a Plan and Go Over it with Your Family
Just like a fire drill in work or school, having a plan in case of fire with your family or roommates is a good idea.
Set a plan for escape, talk about things that you will grab if you have time, and have plans for animals that you own. Another great thing to do is find out where your community’s disaster preparation plans, and familiarize yourself with alternate escape routes – both walking and driving.
Having a plan and practicing it every now and then is a great way to help you stay calm in case of emergency. It will also bring you peace of mind that you are prepared and have a plan.
Make a Safe Box and an Emergency Kit
Another great tip is to get a fire-proof safe for important items and documents. Birth certificates, insurance, and any other records are things that should always be protected so they are not destroyed. Family heirlooms and sentimental items are also good candidates for this safe.
Some people keep valuables in a specific place and all together, so they are easily accessible if they need to be.
Create an emergency kit, or first aid kid. This is something that a lot of people forget about, especially if they have lived in the same house for a little while.
Create a box with:
New batteries of various sizes
Tools (screwdriver, hammer, etc. Nothing too big)
Walkie-talkies or a radio in case of a power outage
General first aid supplies – bandaids, bandages, antiseptic, pain medication, splints
Important documents – insurance documents are a big one for fire safety
Extra cash and spare credit cards
Medication if you have extra and require prescription medication
House keys and spare keys in case they get lost
Use Non-Flammable Materials
If you are updating or building a home, especially since Colorado wildfires pop up almost every summer season, use non-flammable materials.
Even if your home doesn’t need remodeling, you can replace items in your home with non-flammable materials, and this will do a lot to keep your home at lower risk of catching fire.
Materials that can help:
Install double-pane windows
Spark arresters inside of chimneys
Use materials on the outside that are non-flammable (i.e. brick, stone & stucco) Wood and vinyl siding materials are highly flammable so avoid these!
Re-roof with non-combustible roofing materials such as stone or tile
If your home has a wooden deck, install fire-resistant covers underneath and around it
Make Your Home Defendable
Keep shrubs and trees at least 30 to 50 feet away from your home. Clean debris up and dispose of it, debris like leaves and pine needles are perfect kindling for wildfires.
Make sure that if you have a wooden fence, that it is not attached directly to your home, and trim trees that are near your home so that branches can’t fall on it.
Make sure to have dead trees and shrubs removed, dead trees catch fire quicker than healthy trees because of the lack of water in them.
Overall, your home is one of the most valuable things you own, but it is not more valuable than the safety of you, your family, and your animals.
These tips will help keep you safe in the event of a fire, but be safe and evacuate if the fire gets too close to your home!