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Southern wildfires remind us of an often overlooked prep

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 15:26
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As Gatlinburg, Tenn., and other areas across the southeastern U.S. battle uncharacteristic wildfires brought on by months of dry weather, it’s a good time to brush up on fire safety tips that are often overlooked by even the most dedicated preppers.

Wildfires are a fact of life in much of the American West. But for other parts of the country, the threat of raging forest fires is a problem that receives little thought and less preparation.

Even if wildfires aren’t a frequent occurrence in your area, however, a basic fire safety plan is a must in every home.

As with all emergencies, prevention is the best place to start. Here are a few fire safety basics that you should never overlook:

  • Working smoke detectors on at least every level of the home.
  • A fire emergency plan perfected via periodic drills to keep the escape plan fresh in mind.
  • Fire extinguishers strategically placed throughout the home which family members should know how to use.
  • Window escape ladders for multi-story homes.
  • A heavy wool blanket stored in every closet could provide protection from flames during fire evacuation due to the fabric’s natural flame retardant properties.

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) says that during a fire emergency, it is important to crawl low in smoke towards the nearest exit covering the mouth with a cloth and once outside never go back. This is because some 30 percent of fire deaths are due to smoke inhalation. Moreover, tall buildings should be evacuated via stairs not elevators, which can act as chimneys during fire.

Fires can happen at a moment’s notice and, depending on the type of structure in which you live, can engulf a home in a matter of seconds. This is why, as with any type of disaster preparedness, it’s important to have a properly stocked bugout bag at the ready for when there’s little time to think on the way out the door.

Here are a few practical guides to help you organize your bugout kit:

The Bugout Kit

Make Your Own Emergency Car Kit And 72 Hour Pack

Where to Keep Your Emergency Supplies

What’s In Your Kit? Concealed Carry Means More Than Just a Gun

Surviving An Evacuation Order

What’s A BOB And Do I Need One?

The 9 Habits Of Highly Effective Preppers

Wildfires like those currently catching many southerners off guard pose different challenges than fires which originate and are usually contained to a single home. Given the perfect storm of conditions, these fires can burn for days and weeks across thousands of acres. Officials may order evacuations under such conditions.

If, however, you are willing and able to defend your property against encroaching flames, there are a few things you can do in advance that will make it easier to protect your property.

  • Know how and where to shut off gas supplies at the source as far as possible from your dwelling.
  • Keep enough garden hose handy to at least completely encircle your home.
  • Build firebreaks into your landscape with driveways, walkways and flowerbeds filled with succulent and evergreen plants that better resist flame.
  • If you live in a heavily forested area, consider metal or tile coverings when it’s time to replace your roof.
  • Keep your gutters free of plant debris.
  • Keep wood piles, dead leaves, and rubbish clear from the area directly surrounding your home.
  • If possible, trim the branches on trees near the home so that they are at least 10 feet from one another and as far as possible from your home.
  • Keep grass within 100 feet of the house trimmed as neatly as possible.

In general, fire safety experts recommend planning to defend a 100 foot radius around any building you are trying to protect from a wildfire. The preventative measures above can help— and combined with other efforts, could save your home. In addition, you might consider keeping extra fire extinguishers and flame retardants on hand; installing a sprinkler system or keeping on hand sprinkler attachments that could help fight back flames; or considering how to use tools and equipment at your disposal to quickly build firebreaks in the landscape if necessary.

The post Southern wildfires remind us of an often overlooked prep appeared first on Personal Liberty®.


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