Home » Home Improvement

Simple Steps To Take Before You Evacuate For A Fire

Jul 7, 2008
In 2007, a fire started by downed power lines and driven by 60-80 miles-per-hour wind, swept through Malibu. The Sheriffs' Department came to our home at 4:30 AM and told us we had 15 minutes to evacuate. If it happens to you, I guarantee you, you will not be thinking clearly. You will be frantic getting your spouse, children, pets, and maybe Aunt Millie's picture into the car and out of the neighborhood. Fortunately, even in the most serious circumstances, you should have more than 15 minutes notice, and there are some simple things you should do.

First, understand how fire protection works. If fire weather has been predicted, Fire crews may be predeployed, which means they will be somewhere nearby, ready to respond. They are divided up into "strike teams" each of which consists of five engines, four men to an engine, and a battalion chief or some other officer in command. Strike teams are going to be doing several things at once. Along with other fire crews, they are going to be trying to stop or divert an oncoming fire and, as it nears homes, they will be engaged in "structure protection," trying to prevent your home from burning down.

If there are strong winds, there may be little they can do but get out of the way. If there is a possibility of defense, they will try. One engine or more may be on your street, ready to defend nearby homes. This means 4, maybe 8 or 12, firefighters might have to defend your entire street. If they must to decide which homes to protect, they will pick the ones which are most accessible.

Make it easy for the firefighters to defend your home. Here is a list of things you must do before you evacuate:

First - leave the gates to your yard unlocked. Leave your driveway gate open. I have watched firefighters using rotary saws, heavy bolt cutters and crowbars trying to gain access to yards and driveways. If there are several homes to defend, they may not have the time to cut their way into your yard and may move on to the next house. Don't let your automatic driveway gate roll closed behind you.

Keep the doors and windows to the garage and house itself closed, to prevent any wind blown embers from entering. Leave the doors unlocked in case fire personnel have to enter to gain access to a rear deck or other area.

Leaving open access to your property is critical. Of all the instructions concerning fire protection, this is the least mentioned, and one of the most important.

Second - your local hardware or DIY center sells wide diameter (up to ") garden hose. Buy these hoses, connect them into 100-foot lengths and leave them connected to your outdoor spigots. I know, you won't have time to do this in 15 minutes, but if there is any fire risk in your area do it the night before, or use these hoses for ordinary watering purposes and leave them out on a regular basis. It's possible there will be no water pressure, but it's also possible there will be water pressure.

Firefighters have to hook their hoses to nearby hydrants, and run them to their engine for pressure. The fire hoses can't be everywhere at once, and they are heavy and hard to move around in a split second. If a spot fire should start around you house, it is just possible that a wide-diameter garden hose can be used to extinguish it.

Third - Get your barbeque propane tank out of the way! If you have a barbeque near your house, shut the tank valve, disconnect it, and put it out on the street or somewhere away from the house.

I've talked about brush clearance in a previous discussion. Brush clearance is critical, but if there is a fire nearby, it's too late.
About the Author
Kurt Kamm writes novels about fires and firefighters. A resident of Malibu, he has lived through several wildland fires. He is a regular visitor at the fire camps, stations and training academies of L.A. County Fire Department and CalFire. To learn more about his novels, One Foot in the Black, and Red Flag Warning, visit Kurt Kamm.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 106
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources