Your backyard and home are places for enjoyment and memory making for each member of the family. Protecting these special areas of our lives from damage and destruction is important for all and requires planning to do so. One such cause of potential damage and destruction is fire. Some live near areas where wildfires could pose a risk. An enjoyable backyard July 4th firework display could get out of control. A fire place or outdoor fire pit could pose a risk if not managed properly. There are steps that can implement to defend your yard and home from fire.
A Fire-Resistant Yard
An obvious consideration is to keep bushes, shrubbery, and trees away from the house structure. If you do have plants and shrubbery next to your home, be sure to clear away any dry, flammable materials such as old pine needles and leaves. They commonly tend to collect next to walls, on decks, in rain gutters, and under the bushes from which them dropped.
Don’t stack firewood next to your house. When it is time to replace wooden fences, decks, or other structures, consider using fireproof building materials. Another hazard we do not often think of is to inspect trees regularly for dead branches that need to be trimmed.
However, vegetation (bushes, trees, flowers) can enhance the appearance of your home and create an outdoor feel that we yearn for, especially during the summer months. There are various plants and shrubs and even trees that a more resistant to fire than others. For example, plants that hang low to the ground, retain good moisture, and do not contain a lot of sap and resin are considered more fire resistant. Similarly, select trees that are less prone to catching fire are maples, poplars and cherry trees. Tall trees have been shown to act as a wind barrier and heat shield during a spreading wild fire.
Arranging your landscaping to provide breaks in the greenery is another useful strategy. For example, consider placing a brick border around structures, or designing paths and transitional areas using bricks or slab rock ground covering. These break areas can work to slow a fire from spreading quickly. Avoid using flammable ground covering for flower beds.
A fire-resistant yard can be a beautiful, functional, and special place for enjoying some of life’s most cherished activities.
A Fire- Resistant External Home
Advancements continue to be made in the development of building and construction materials that are more resistant to catching fire, or that burn slower should the structure catch fire. Building codes continue to incorporate the use of these materials making them a required part of construction.
Choosing tile or steel for your roof, as compared to wood or shake shingles, provides some fire protection. If you have a wooden roof, consider replacing it with the tile or steel materials when its time to re-roof. Brick siding is a fire barrier and safer against fire than wood, ply, or plastic siding. Ember resistant vents and steel mesh screens over those vents can add a measure of protection.
A Fire-Resistant Internal Home
Tile flooring provides a fire barrier and a safer option than carpet. But we love our carpet, so a potential compromise is to break up areas by placing a more fire-resistant flooring between areas of carpet. Placing fire-resistant shutters or curtains around windows can offer added protection.
Good maintenance of electrical outlets and electrical cords are important components of a fire-resistant home structure.
Having enough clear space with fire-resistant material, such as tile, in front of a fire place is important.
A Fire-Resistant Mind Set
Always be careful with the activities taking place in your backyard that could cause a fire such as fireworks or sparklers. Be smart about a backyard fireplace or grill and make sure guests that choose to smoke have a safe place to put their cigarette.
Keep your cooking area clean, tidy and attended. Stay in the kitchen when something with high heat is on the stove, especially with oil in the pan.
Always clear out the lint from your dryer and from the dryer vent.
These are just a few preventive focused fire-resistant measures that can help protect our home and yard from fire. Increasing your relevant awareness as to those areas or settings that pose a risk and then implementing strategies to reduce the risk is simply wise.