How To Protect Your Home From Wildfires

In many places in the United States, the threat of wildfires is very real. According to a recent report, nearly 2.2 million homes are at serious risk of damage or destruction in wildfires.
The 13 westernmost states make up most of the risk, with California, Colorado, and Texas at the top of the list. The situation is only be exacerbated by the prolonged drought affecting many western states.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of acres are burned and thousands of lives are lost due to these wildfires. In 2011 alone, wildfires claimed the lives of over 3000 people and left 1700 others with severe burn injuries.

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The good news in all this bad news, is that there are steps you can take to protect your home and reduce your risk when a wildfire breaks out.

Steps To Help Protect Your Home From Wildfires
Homeowners should choose materials that are fire resistant when constructing or upgrading homes. ICFs (insulated concrete forms - basically fireproof concrete blocks that fit together like legos), fireproof siding and roofing are great starts.

Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees; hardwood trees are less flammable than pine or evergreen.

Maintain an outside water source, such as a pond, well, or swimming pool. Keep access to a garden hose that is long enough to reach all areas of the home and property.

Install freeze proof exterior water outlets on at least two sides of the home. There should also be access to a gasoline powered pump in case electricity is cut off.

Clear combustible debris, such as wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, or tarp coverings, from around the home.

Install a dual-sensor smoke detector on each level of the home, especially near bedrooms. Change batteries at least once a year.

Inspect chimneys at least twice a year and clean annually.

Clean roofs and gutters regularly.

Of course, these steps can't make your home completely fireproof and there is always the chance that a wildfire will take your home. So be prepared, have an evacuation plan in place, and keep your family safe.

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