Protecting Your Home from Wildfires in Idaho
Risk of Wildfire Damage in the Summer
Summertime has grown to be a time known for wildfires, and if you are not prepared your home can be destroyed in a matter of seconds in a quick moving fire. There are several things you can do to prevent wildfires from spreading to your property and home, and if you live in an area prone to wildfires or recently affected by drought you should take heed and follow a few simple times to protect your home.
Tips to Protect your Home from Wildfires
The first and most important step is to create a defensible space around your home. We have all seen the photos of wildfire devastation, and were in awe that some houses were untouched, while others are destroyed. While this may be a matter of terrain or weather, if a home has defensible space surrounding it, it has a fighting chance against an approaching wildfire.
Create a Defensible Area Around Your Home
To create a defensible area, thin vegetation from around your home, and remove any flammable materials including dry grass, leaves, or pine needles. Be sure to clear your gutters, and remove pine needles or leaves from your roof and deck areas. Trim or remove large trees near your house or other buildings, and prune any branches of large trees to create six to 10 feet of clearance between the tree and the ground.
Creating a defensible area around your home will help reduce the risk of a fire spreading to your home through trees or other materials. It may mean the difference between a home untouched and one destroyed.
Use the Right Building Materials
You may also want to consider the actual materials of your home—your roof, deck, fences and siding—to determine if those materials are also fire-resistant. Fire-rated shingles are made of materials including asphalt, metal, slate, clay or concrete. Additionally, brick, plaster, stucco and fiber-cement are fire-resistant materials for the exterior walls of your home.
Consider Emergency Access
Another thing to consider is the ease of access should emergency responders need to protect your home. Work with your neighbors to make sure your streets are clearly market, and all homes have visible numbers. Your driveway should be easily accessible—both wide and with enough height clearance—to allow responders access.
Create an Emergency Action Plan
Once you have done all you can to make your home fire-resistant, you should also consider an emergency action plan. Make sure everyone in your home knows the plan, and don’t forget to include your pets or livestock. Your plan should include a pre-designated meeting place in case of evacuations. If you intend to protect your home, have tools including a shovel, rake, axe or chainsaw available to clear growth and to create a natural barrier. Never stay if your life is at risk—while it is devastating to lose your home and all it’s contents, your life is more important.
If your home is in a risk area for wildfires in Idaho, make sure you know where important documents are—including your insurance policy—and include a complete inventory of your property and it’s contents. Store these items in a fire-resistant safe or in a safety deposit box at a bank. If your home is lost or damaged in a fire, knowing where these items are will help speed up the insurance claim process and will enable you to get back to your life as soon as possible after a fire.
You may also want to put together an emergency kit that includes first aid supplies, basic tools, a flashlight, clothing, blankets, prescription medications, extra car and house keys and credit cards and cash.
If your home is destroyed and you choose to rebuild, On The Spot Cleaning and Restoration can help you with the repair the physical damages while taking into consideration the emotional toll such an event creates in your life.
If you would like assistance, your local fire department will usually offer guidance and answer any questions you have about protecting your property. There are also numerous resources available online from various government agencies. Don’t wait until it’s too late—the more proactive you are now the better you will be prepared in an emergency. Continue to follow the blog at www.onthespotcleaning.com for more tips to protect your home from water and fire damage.
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