We all remember too well the shocking heart-wrenching daily news coverage of wildfires in four Northern California counties beginning October 2017 – fires that ravaged 245,000 acres and claimed 43 lives with more than 8,000 properties. Then in recent weeks, residents in southern Collier County could barely see and breath when thick black smoke from a nearby fire burned 2,200 acres over weeks – a fire that they worried would spread to their homes. Every day is a reminder about the danger of wildfires. We see headlines like, “Residents evacuated from Fort Myers Beach condo due to fire,” “South Fort Myers brush fire claimed 1 home, 3 cars,” and “fire alerts issued for Southwest Florida – Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral…”
Although this is no way to absolutely make your home fireproof, there are ways to protect your property and limit a fire’s damaging effects when it occurs. The following nine tips are supported by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Nonflammable roof materials include asphalt shingles, metal, slate, or tile. Flammable roofs made of wood are the most likely to produce total loss from fire. Even wooden roofs treated with fire retardant materials or a rooftop sprinkler system are not terribly effective. Fire scientist Jack Cohen says that the difference between a home being destroyed or not from a fire is all about the roof. He and other experts recommend re-roofing wooden roofs with a nonflammable roof as the best course of action.
Keep gutters clear of leaves, pine needles, and other debris that can ignite from flying embers.
Embers can gain entry into your home through open exterior vents, windows, doggy doors, and rooftop openings. Keep embers out by covering vent openings with 1/8 inch hardware cloth, caulking cracks, replacing missing shingles or roof tiles, and keeping doggy doors properly sealed and closed during fire season.
Radiant heat can melt plastic skylights and cause glass windows and doors to crack or burst, becoming a portal of entry for burning embers. Double-paned and tempered glass is more likely to withstand extreme temperatures from a fire.
Choose noncombustible furniture, window coverings, and carpets that will greatly reduce fire damage.
Clear and minimize combustible materials and plants within five feet of the perimeter of your home. Anything organic is a fuel source and can set fire to planting beds. This includes mulch, and plants containing oils and resins like juniper and pine. Organic mulch within five feet of your home can be replaced with gravel or stone. Plants should be watered well during fire season.
Any wood structures or debris close to your property can ignite and produce a house fire. Use a masonry or metal barrier to separate wood fences attached to or close to a home. Keep wooden decks clear of debris and vegetation that may accumulate underneath.
A “defensible space” serves as a frontline defense against a wildfire. This includes your home and everything within 100 to 200 feet around it. The defensible space can prevent flames from approaching your home, and give firefighters a safe place to combat the blaze.
All the protections for your home won’t safeguard you from neighboring properties that do not have protections in place. Work with neighbors to organize fire preparation that will help to protect your home as well as neighboring properties. This will reduce risks to your home and help your neighborhood.
If you are in the Southwest Florida area, keep in mind that Armstrong Water Mold Cleanup & Restorations is a specialty full-service Florida general contractor, specializing in fire damage restoration, water damage repairs and mold remediation.
Armstrong is about helping people to get through one of their most difficult challenges in the best possible way. We want to introduce you to one-stop total peace of mind service – the most complete, comprehensive 24/7 customer service in the area today.
Armstrong is one of only a few companies trusted and recommended by leading homeowners insurance companies because we follow IICRC standards that assure safe and appropriate practices without overcharging for unnecessary and costly demolition and restoration. We work directly with your insurance. Our detailed documents that accurately define replacement needs and costs expedite claims and maximize your benefits for covered expenses.
We are reachable 24/7 to inspect and solve water damage and mold problems. The mold inspection and estimate are free. Call 239-541-4200 or contact us at ArmstrongWaterMoldCleanup.com