We’re approaching summertime, and for most California residents, that means several things — fun in the sun, days at the beach, hikes for days, and a sweet, sweet summer tan. Unfortunately, not everyone in California is blissful under the sun in this time of the year — this is also the season of wildfires, and many people have a very real risk of losing their home and everything they love to a fire that spirals out of control. With Riverside County breaking out in fires recently, this should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds in the surrounding areas.
While sometimes wildfires are relentless and unavoidable, there are precautions you can take that can potentially prevent your home from going down. In fact, many homes have been lost to fires that ostensibly could have survived if the owners went through some of these measures.
At ServiceMaster Absolute, we have done more than enough fire damage restoration jobs to know how devastating it can be. While we are happy to help people with our services, the best solution is, undoubtedly, not having fire damage in the first place. Here are some things you can do to protect your home.
Location, Location, Location
The first piece of advice is perhaps the most redundant, but still important — one of the best ways to prevent wildfire damage is to have your home in a spot that’s not especially vulnerable to them. This obviously isn’t an option if you’re already established in an area, but if you’re looking to move or find somewhere new after losing your old home to a fire, you might want to go somewhere that’s less likely to receive the wrath of rogue wildfires.
Having your house in the middle of a bunch of thick trees is asking for trouble. It’s beautiful, yes, but it will be less so when they’ve all gone ablaze. You also want to avoid areas that are susceptible to moving fires — hilltops and overhangs are good examples. If you’re in the market for a new home, consult with your local professionals to get a reading on how well-protected your home is against wildfires.
Clear Away Flammable Debris
A lot of homeowners have the mistake of keeping a lot of junk lying around their home that is highly flammable and extremely susceptible to errant wildfires. If this description fits you, it’s time to consider making some changes.
You generally want a “safe space” around your home; the general number that’s recommended for this is a 30-foot radius (at least) in all directions. Anything that’s combustible or flammable should be kept that distance away, if not more.
This includes firewood stacks, decks, porches (yes, you should consider a different material if you already have one in wood), fences, and plants such as dry grass, bushes, and so on. Sometimes, homes are spared even if there’s a blazing wildfire around them. If they’re in just the right spot and there’s nothing around them to catch fire, sometimes they might just last the night.
Protect Your Home’s Openings
One thing that people forget about wildfires is that it’s not always the outside of your home that catches ablaze. In certain situations, hot embers catching the wind can float into your home and start a fire of its own, usually igniting flammable objects such as furniture or drapery.
If you want to stand a better chance against wildfires, protect all the openings of your home! Every window, eave, vent opening, and anything else should be properly screened, and strategically prepared against the threat of wayward embers. Ideally, it’s best to create situations where embers won’t be able to reach these openings, but that’s not also possible. For windows, you can invest in non-combustible shutters that will improve your odds by a large margin.
And that brings us to our next point — always, always close your windows and doors during a wildfire! This greatly mitigates the risk of invasive embers that could turn your lovely home into a giant campfire.
Optimize Your Roof
If you have a forest cabin with a rustic wooden roof, that’s fine, we’re sure it’s lovely, but we’ve done enough fire damage restoration jobs to know that this can be a recipe for disaster.
If you’re in a location that’s susceptible to wildfires, you should abandon the idea of a wooden roof, and go for something that’s optimized for fire prevention. Tile and steel roofs are a good start, and fiber cement or stucco are effective siding choices.
Don’t Be Part of the Problem
Finally, this doesn’t have as much to do with preparing your home, but one thing that you can do is not contribute to the problem of forest fires, by abstaining from habits and tendencies that can cause them.
While some wildfires are caused naturally, there have also been a staggering amount of them that could have been completely avoided. If you live in an area that’s susceptible to wildfire damage, it’s possible that you spend a good amount of time in your nearby forests.
Avoid careless mistakes. Don’t pitch fires if there is a ban, don’t be chucking your cigarette butts around, and make sure you completely extinguish your campfires after you’re done with them.
How would you feel if your negligent actions ended up causing a fire that spans hundreds of acres and burns down countless homes, including yours? That’s not something anyone wants to go through, and if you do your part, you can reduce the chances of a disaster happening.
Call SM Absolute for Fire Damage Restoration
At ServiceMaster Absolute, we have provided fire and smoke restoration services to the people of Riverside County (and the surrounding areas) for years. We’ve seen fires claim many homes and commercial buildings, and we don’t want the worst to happen to you.
Fortunately, sometimes fire damage can be repaired and restored, and that’s exactly why we’re here. We’ve performed hundreds of fire damage restoration jobs, and by the time we’re done with your home and building, it could look brand new. Fire and smoke damage can be highly dangerous when not properly dealt with, and it’s not something you want to be living in the company of.
Are you in the Riverside County or surrounding areas? We’ve served people all across the board. Whether you’re in Riverside proper, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Indio, Banning, Coachella, Corona, or any other of the nearby cities, we’d be happy to take a trip to your home or commercial lot. Ready to get started? Contact us today for a free consultation! Out of this world customer service is our top priority, and we know you’ll be happy with our services.