A Guide On How To Deal With Wildfires

3 July 2018

Recently, fires broke out on the Saddleworth Moors, causing homes to be evacuated and heavy damage to the landscape. It’s a reminder that fires can happen anywhere and preparation is vital for blazes that occur inside and outside. Wildfires are capable of causing a lot of destruction. We’ve put together a guide on how to prepare for them and how to be safe.

Clear away any combustible materials

If you live in the vicinity of a forest or grassland, then you should take steps to avoid a fire from starting. This can be achieved by removing combustible materials away from a property. This includes getting rid of any dry grass, brush or stacks of firewood and keeping them a safe distance away from the home. The recommended distance is at least 50 feet.

Try and avoid burning any of the material. It’s always worth checking local regulations and ‘burn ban’ restrictions. In certain areas you may need a burning permit.

Create defensible safety zones

Creating safety zones around your property is a good way to reduce the risk of a wildlife. You can do this by keeping trees spaced at least 10 feet apart and regularly pruning vegetation. Other methods involve trimming branches so they don’t encroach on a roof and making sure to clear the gutters of any debris.

Keep any flammable materials away from wooden structures, such as decks or fences. Avoid using the space under a deck for the storage of garden equipment like lawn mowers.

Prepare an evacuation plan

Even if you’ve done everything you can to protect your home against wildfire, you should still prepare a plan for the worst case scenario. Identify all the possible exit points in the property and remember to come up with an emergency kit. The kit could include a torch, medical supplies, a change of clothes, phone charger, bottled water etc.

What to do in the event of a forest fire

  • If the authorities tell you to evacuate your home then do so immediately.
  • Wear protective clothing to shield against flying sparks and ash.

Protecting against smoke

In addition to the flames, smoke is another factor to be aware of:

  • Children and elderly people are the most likely to be affected.
  • If you’re staying inside then close all windows and doors to stop smoke getting in.
  • When surrounded by smoke, breathe into a damp cloth to avoid inhaling any.

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