Below is a list of products and methods that can be useful in creating a fire safe home and community. The key issue to remember is that PREPARATION is everything. Wildfire is not something you can respond to on a flair. Regarding taking an active role in protecting your home during a fire, you need to become familiar with the risks and the limits of your own temperament. The number one cause of homeowner fatalities during a wildfire is panic. Individuals think they can handle the situation so they fail to properly prepare or fail to evacuate when that is their best option. Then, when their emotions get the best of them, they flee too late and end up getting killed in the flames.
Know your environment. Know fire. Know yourself.
1. FIRE SAFE COUNCILS
The first step in creating a fire safe community in California is for a group of dedicated individuals to create a neighborhood Fire Safe Council. Start by contacting the California Fire Safe Council to find out how to set up your own local chapter. You may already have regional Council in your county, so you will want to check the local listings. Once established, a council will help provide fire education and assistance in helping reduce fire risks within your neighborhood. It's also a great way to become better acquainted with your neighbors.
Fire Safe Councils are mostly grant based. This means there are usually no permanent funding sources. This is something you may want to lobby your local government officials about. Get them to permanently fund the regional council. This is one of the best uses of fire prevention money available.
Unfortunately, grant money available to Fire Safe Councils is focused almost exclusively on vegetation management. If you join your local council, help educate members about the importance of addressing the entire fire risk equation as discussed on our Protecting Your Home page. Help them understand that they do not have to destroy habitat to be safe.
2. HOME PROTECTION SYSTEMS
There are a number of products on the market that can dramatically reduce the chance your home will ignite in a wildfire. Here are a few.
ECO-Blocks are insulating concrete forms (ICFs) or hollow blocks or panels made of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) that a construction crew stacks to create the exterior walls of a residential or commercial building. Workers then add reinforcing steel and fill the gap (typically 4” to 8”) between the two layers of foam with concrete. This combination of concrete, steel and foam creates a very strong, fire resistant, and energy-efficient structure.