Prevention tips that should spread like wildfire

This year has seen the worst wildfire season in Canada’s recent history, and it’s making headlines worldwide. If you live in an area where wildfires are a real risk, there are some preventive measures you can take to protect your home and be better prepared.
Prevention tips that should spread like wildfire

Your home is your castle…

And should be defended against all threats. Even if you don’t live that close to a wildfire zone, there are several low-cost measures you can take to protect your home against fire that you can do on your own. Here are just a few:

  • Clean and maintain gutters and roofs. This means removing needles, leaves and debris, and regularly cleaning your vents.
  • Keep a zone of 1.5 metres around the entire perimeter of your house clear of combustible material like mulch and plants.
  • Store firewood and lumber at least 10 metres away from the house.
  • Keep grass and weeds cut down to less than 10 cm in height.
  • Prune trees to create a two-metre clearance between the ground and the lowest branches.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms work.
  • Know how to turn off the utilities in your home.
  • Have an evacuation plan.
Prevention tips that should spread like wildfire extra

In the heat of the moment

If you live in a high-risk zone and a wildfire is getting closer, additional measures should be taken to be better prepared. They may seem obvious, but it’s good to have a checklist handy for when things heat up:

  • Make sure you have a full tank of gas in your car and park it facing out of your driveway.
  • Turn off your propane or natural gas, and move propane barbecues away from any structures.
  • Close all the doors and windows, and turn on the lights in the house. This can help firefighters see in case your home is filled with smoke.
  • Place a ladder to the roof in front of the house to help out firefighters.

Finally, you should always have some basic supplies ready that can last at least 72 hours. You never know how long you may need to get by without electricity or tap water. Put together an emergency kit and keep it somewhere convenient, like a closet in the front hall. We’ve all been caught trying to find a flashlight in the dark. Here a some of the things you should pack:

  • Water! You should budget about four litres of water per person, per day.
  • Food that won’t spoil, like canned food or granola bars. And don’t forget food for your pets.
  • Pack a flashlight, a battery-operated radio, extra batteries, and chargers for your devices.
  • Pop in copies of important documents, like passports, wills and insurance policies.
  • Include a basic first-aid kit with bandages, antiseptic, disposable gloves, pain relievers, and face masks.

As the old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Knowing what to do and being prepared goes a long way towards protecting your home and loved ones.