Fire can be swift and devastating to homes. A home in a fire-prone area should receive special attention and consideration to minimize the risk of fire damage. When a home is properly prepared, even a wildfire may cause only minor to moderate damage rather than the total loss of the home.
Roofing material is among the most important aspects of a home’s fire defense. This is because a fire that begins outside the home is likely to catch the roof first. The most fire resistant roofing materials are metal, slate and tile. By contrast, materials such as asphalt and wood are extremely vulnerable to fire. In many cases, installing high-risk materials like wooden shakes will void a home’s fire insurance protection and should never be done.
Fire must get to a home in order to burn it. Falling sparks and embers will most likely land on the roof, and will not catch fire so long as the roofing material is fire-resistant or treated. Fire may also reach a home by traveling on the branches of nearby trees and foliage. It is very important for homeowners to keep plants and trees around the home under control. Branches should never be touching the home or growing over the roof line. Dense shrubbery should optimally not be directly alongside the house. If it is alongside the house, then be sure there is some sort of fire barrier between the shrubs and the outside space.
Most houses have lawns that may become dry and dead during the hot summer months. Lawn care is important for fire prevention. All grass should be trimmed regularly and kept low. Most areas have ordinances specifying grass height, and homeowners who let their lawns get out of control may face more consequences than just high fire risk.
Sprinklers and Fire Control Systems
Houses at high risk for fire could benefit from installing fire control systems or sprinklers, such as those from Nor Cal Fire Protection, throughout the home. This provides much more protection than a simple smoke alarm. While professional sprinkler systems are usually seen more in commercial applications, they can help to minimize damage to residential buildings as well.
Sometimes even the best fire prevention strategies aren’t enough to save your home. If the home does burn down or suffer extensive damage, it is important to mitigate the damage as much as possible. One big and often overlooked part of this is ensuring that important personal and financial documents don’t become lost in the fire.
Copies of important documents, especially identifiers like social security cards or birth certificates, should be kept at an off-site location like a safety deposit box. It is also very important to keep documents and records that will be needed immediately after an emergency like insurance paperwork. Instead of a deposit box, records could be locked in vehicles or in a fireproof safe or container that will survive even if the rest of the building burns down.