Now seems as good a time as any to start fireproofing your home. Aside from perhaps investing in fire-resistant or retardant materials, there are also a lot of natural, preventive measures homeowners can take to keep their home—and their families—safe.
After all, an ounce of prevention is often so much better than a pound of cure.
Don’t wait for the next big wildfire threat before you decide to take action. Start looking into all the ways—big and small—you can fireproof your home as soon as possible.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Fireproofing the Exterior (Grounds, Yard, Backyard, etc.)
When your exterior space catches fire, your interior is instantly in danger. And while both places are equally vulnerable, you can do a lot of natural fireproofing to your outdoor area. Just simple, inexpensive steps that are still extremely effective.
- Check the plants near and around your foundation. If you have highly flammable plants within fifty feet of your home—like coniferous trees or dry brush—consider moving or replanting them a little further from your actual house. If you can’t uproot them, at least trim them into something a little neater. Coniferous trees produce a sap that is actually highly flammable, so keeping their branches trimmed and off the ground is another great way to avoid adding natural fuel to the fire.
- Remove all dry vegetation in all outdoor areas – Including your gutters. These can act as natural kindling for wildfire, so do everything you can to take them out of the equation. Sweep dead leaves and dry debris out of your gutter. Throw dry leaves, sticks, weeds, and dead plants into a biodegradable trash bag and dispose of it immediately.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t throw the dry vegetation away, thoroughly wet it instead.
- Invest in Fire Resistant Plants. As mentioned earlier, conifers and dry, dead plants are highly flammable. If you want plants near your house or foundation, invest in fire resistant plants. Yes, such things exist. Some common examples would be Yucca, Lavender, and live Oak. Some rarer decorative plants that are just as fire-resistant would be Agave, Eastern Redbud, and Sycamores.
- Install Iron, Brick, or Concrete Fences. White wooden picket fences do look beautiful and picturesque, but they catch fire very easily. If you’re serious about fireproofing your home, consider putting up a brick, concrete, or iron fence instead. But if you don’t have the resources or means to do so, try installing some sort of protective barrier made of metal or stone material between your wooden fence and your actual house. This can slow the fire down before it reaches your home.
Fireproofing the Interior
If, in the worst-case scenario, the fire reaches your house, parts of your interior need to be reinforced.
- Protect your windows. Your windows are perhaps the weakest link in fireproofing your home. The heat of the fire alone can shatter the glass inwards, long before the flames even physically reach the window. If you have the resources for it, replace your single-glazed windows with models that have double glazing and tempered glass. These will give your windows a fighting chance against the blaze. Also look into investing in other features that can add an extra layer of protection for the window itself, like fold-down panels or shutters.
- Invest in special equipment.Fireproofing your home can also entail installing extra features and equipment, like a fire alarm built into your home security system or a sprinkler system on the roof. A backup generator or battery-powered lights would also be solid investments, as fires can affect your power supply.
Homes are intrinsically meant to keep us—and our families—safe. They’re meant to provide protection and shelter against natural disasters. As homeowners, we need to do everything in our power to help our home achieve this. It’s up to us to take initiative and reinforce our property with the resources it needs to ultimately give it—and, by extension, ourselves—a fighting chance. Contact your Design Build professional for ideas and strategies to provide a safer home for You and your Family.