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Preparing Your Home For A Possible Wildfire

There are several factors to consider while preparing your home for a probable or coming wildfire.
The most significant concern is time, however the three most critical aspects of house preparation are:

1. Landscaping and eliminating combustible materials as far as possible from the house.

2. Implementing hydration by installing sprinklers on the roof, external decks, and other critical locations, and

3. By sealing the outside of your home and then preparing the interior.

For this fast installment, we'll concentrate on sealing the exterior of the home to protect it from some of the numerous threats involved with an impending fire.

There are several hazards associated with a wildfire. Extreme radiant temperatures, heated particle smoke and other gasses, winds caused by heat and thermal exchanges with the nearby environment, fallen trees, tiny debris swept about by the winds, and embers aplenty will be falling on your property.

Here are just a few things you may take to safeguard your home:

  • Consider a hurricane. Because winds and debris are a concern, you should prepare your home in the same manner you would for a hurricane, but without as much structural bracing.

  • Fire resistant storm shutters would be ideal for protecting your windows from heat and flying debris, but if you don't have or want them, don't believe you're out of choices. The next best option would be pre-cut plywood shutters that were coated with a fire-resistant finish and branded with the window they covered.

  • Make small holes at the top --  install small hooks over each window -- and drill finger holes so that the plywood sheets can be lifted and hung by one person for speedier installation. When installing shutters or creating coverings, don't forget about the bigger vent holes to your attic.

  • Cover crawl space holes and any other openings that might let hot gases or embers inside your property. Certain smaller holes, such as soffet vents, can be covered with a couple of layers of aluminum foil fastened in place with metallic HVAC duct tape. The fabric tape that most people associate with "duct tape" is actually flammable, making it unsuitable for outdoor usage in a wildfire emergency.

  • Keep some metal cans on hand to place over your plumbing vent stacks. You don't want to seal them, but you do want to keep embers out of them and keep them from catching fire because vent stacks are often composed of PVC tubing.

  • If you have a chimney and can safely reach the top, you could wish to seal the chimney entrance loosely with a metal five-gallon bucket or something similar. If you do not want to or are unable to do so, keep the flue open and the protective fireplace screen closed. You want to do this so that if an ember falls up the chimney, it will fall into the fireplace, where fire is meant to be, rather than lingering in a creosote-coated chimney, which may catch fire and burn down your house.


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