DEFEND YOUR DEFENSIBLE SPACE

Are You FireSafe ?



Would you be prepared if a wildfire
threatened your home and family?

 

Each year, wildfires destroy hundreds of homes and acreage. When a wildfire does strike, it can occur with little warning and spread quickly. Fire crews and equipment can be overwhelmed by the task of fighting a rapidly advancing wildfire. There simply may not be enough personnel and equipment to defend every home.

Falling embers and brands, sometimes from miles away, presents one of the greatest dangers in a wildfire situation.  A single hot ember could make your home or property a secondary incident, with fire department resources already devoted to fighting the main fire miles away. Foam-Fast equipment can allow you to Defend Your Defensible Spacebefore your local fire protection agency arrives, but only if you are prepared.

Being prepared can give you the edge in making your home a "winner" instead of a "loser" with both lives and property being saved if you take a few simple precautions...

  • Plan ahead early

  • Clean up around your home and property

  • Spark proof your home

  • Setup a water delivery system

  • Add Foam-Fast to your water delivery system

  • Know when to get out


1. PLAN AHEAD EARLY

Don't wait until the fire season has started.  Precautions should be taken before summer to help save your home, even if fire comes while you are away.  A well prepared home has a better chance of being saved than an unprepared one.

Even by doing some simple cleanup and adding a Foam-Fast Wildfire Pre-Treatment Kit to each of your garden hoses, you will have the beginnings of a basic plan of defense.

2. CREATE DEFENSIBLE SPACE AROUND YOUR HOME AND PROPERTY

Fires are spread and fuelled by flammable grasses, weeds, trees and bushes.

  • Cut down grass, clear leaves and dead undergrowth within 30-50 feet of buildings

  • Clear all dry grass and bark well back from the walls

  • Space trees so that there is NOT a continuous canopy from brushland to house

  • Remove tree limbs which overhang the roof or decks.

  • All nearby trees should have lower branches pruned away to provide a vertical firebreak which will prevent the ground fire spreading into them

  • Keep gutters clear of leaves & twigs and screen with metal gutter guards.

3. SPARK PROOF YOUR HOME

Many houses lost in wildfires have caught fire ON THE INSIDE, caused by burning debris or sparks blown through uncovered openings - windows, doors, eaves, the roof space or under the house.  This is a very important point.  Your home - and your family - have a much better chance of surviving a bushfire if the house is spark proof.

  • Treat all exterior wood surface with intumescant paint or other fire rated coating.

  • Install metal mesh or solid screens will seal windows, doors, ventilators and skylights.

  • Eaves and under-floor areas should be boxed in or screened over

  • Pay particular attention to gaps in the roof area, along the ridge cap and facia.

4. SET UP A WATER SUPPLY AND DELIVERY SYSTEM

It is essential to make provision for an adequate water supply for firefighting.   You cannot rely on public water mains or electricity during a wildfire.  Your water supply and delivery system should be totally independent of utilities which, in the event of an emergency, may be inadequate or non-existent.  (Remember the Oakland Hills fire in the SF Bay Area?)

Tanks, dams and swimming pools can provide necessary reserves provided you have the proper pump and enough hose to reach all areas to be protected.  Ideally the system should provide coverage to the entire house as well as the defensible space around it.

The delivery system should provide a MINIMUM 100 PSI nozzle pressure AT THE RATED FLOW OF THE NOZZLE YOU WILL BE USING.  This provides compatibility with and proper operation of standard firefighting nozzles and foam equipment.  Remember to take into account friction losses through long hose runs too!

IMPORTANT NOTE ON PUMPS: Do not be misled by some pump dealers who claim high flow rates and pressures but don't provide a pump curve. Ask to see a pump curve before you buy and insist on 100+ psi at your desired operating flow!

In addition, your delivery system should be easy to use.  Reading a manual is the last thing you want to be doing in the middle of a fire event!

Your water supply and delivery system should also be clearly labeled and designed to provide easy access for your local fire agency.  Check with your local fire department for recommendations on making your equipment readily accessible.

Also, be sure to test your equipment at least annually to ensure proper operation, to account for all supplies and to make sure it is working as designed.  Gasoline engines need their oil and gas replaced no less than once a season.  The last thing you want to be doing during a fire is servicing your pumps engine!

NOTE: The NFPA has a formula for calculating the amount of water required to protect a specific structure. (Ref: NFPA 1142, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Fire Fighting, 1999 Edition)

5. ADD FOAM-FAST TO YOUR DELIVERY SYSTEM

Foam-Fast increases the coverage of a limited water supply up to 5 times!  Foam-Fast breaks down the waters surface tension thereby improving waters penetration into porous surfaces and slowing its evaporation.  When applied to the defensible space around your home, Foam-Fast can increase waters effectiveness 5x or more!

Foam-Fast can be implemented by a variety of methods including standard garden hoses, hand pump backpacks, portable pumps or whole house hydrant systems.

6. KNOW WHEN TO GET OUT

Your property can be replaced but not your life or the life of a loved one.

Foam-Fast can provide a extra level of protection against the threat of a wildfire.  However, no matter what steps you take there is no guarantee that you can protect your property.  Although Foam-Fast can be used to directly attack a fire, unless you have no other choice that is best left to professional firefighters.

 When possible, "Pre-treat then Retreat"

Always have a evacuation plan in mind and when in doubt, get out!

6. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

For more information on defensive space and what you can do to protect your home & family, check out these related website links:

NOTE: If any of the above links do not work the providers server may be temporarily down.  The information contained on this page has been compiled from a variety of sources.  No guarantee is made as to the accuracy of any of the information and the views expressed are offered only as general information.  Information contained on linked pages are those of the respective authors and are not necessarily the opinions of Western DataLynx Inc, it's employees or dealers.  Firefighting is serious business and we advise you to consult with your local fire agency for specific recommendations regarding fire safety in and around your home and property.
 

Home Firefighting™, Defend Your Defensible Space®, Pretreat then Retreat™ and Foam-Fast®
are trademarks of or licensed by Western DataLynx Inc., USA..
Copyright © 2012 Western DataLynx Inc.