Protecting your house from fire becomes a priority if you live in fire-prone states or regions. However, preparations against fire are not limited to houses in these states only. The National Fire Protection Agency reported that domestic fires in America have been on a steady rise since the 90s.
One may be forgiven for thinking that people would be more equipped to protect their homes from fire due to the several technological tools for early detection and fire suppression. But this is not the case. We still have a lot to learn.
Knowing The Harsh Reality
Like most house owners out there, I’m assuming you have smoke alarms installed already. Also, there’s a fire extinguisher on your kitchen wall to kill those little kitchen tires before they go rogue.
These are surely good steps, but they are little ones in the right direction. The casual fire extinguisher you have at home will only put out small fires and only if applied on time.
More so, these are merely the basics for killing a fire that starts inside. What’s your plan for putting out a fire that starts outside your house? How do you intend to deal with wildfires?
According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, America has been hit year after year by devastating wildfires, and every successive season turns out worse than its predecessor. For instance, over 40 million acres have burned since 2017. In California alone, more than 10 000 structures have been damaged from over 9 000 wildfires.
Fighting The False Assumption
The average American believes that preparations against wildfires and domestic fires are meant for residents of the West Coast, as they are the only ones at risk. Sure, the West Coast is more vulnerable to fires; the risk is not limited to the region. If you live in a wooded neighborhood, you are equally at risk.
Protecting your home from wildfires has to be taken very seriously, even if you live where you believe to be very safe. You are not 100% excluded even if there’s a green belt surrounding your region. Fire may fall from the sky if a nearby area is burning.
It’s hard to put out a fire burning at 1 500° with an extinguisher, don’t you agree?
Recommendations For Protecting Your House From Fire
I should mention that the strategies below do not guarantee absolute protection from fires. However, they greatly reduce the risk of occurrence and cut down on the damage these fires may cause.
Set Up A Residential Sprinkler System
Installing a sprinkler system for your residence has to be one of the first steps you take when preparing against fires. It is recommended that you incorporate it in the building process of your home. In cases where you or the constructor did not, the responsibility falls on your pockets, and I must say it can be white hefty.
If you would rather not spend so much on an afterthought sprinkler system, you can opt for DIY projects and certain kits designed for the purpose. However, these systems don’t look very appealing and may not conform to the standards of most families.
Set Up A Natural Fire Breaker Barrier
The presence of a green belt around your home may not guarantee you absolute protection, but it remains one of the most effective and inexpensive setups for protecting your home from fires that start outside. A natural fire breaker barrier is a space that you leave between your structures and the woods (or any other combustible material), and other houses nearby.
The main purpose of this is to make it difficult for the fire to get to your home. Some states recommend that your fire breaker barrier is at a foot radius of 30-100 around your home. Note that the wider your fire breaker, the harder it is for a wildfire to get to you.
Fires burn uphill, so you must know the slope of your home first. An upward slope helps the fire to climb. So, if your property has a great slope, the bigger the fire breaker to set up.
Another advantage of your barrier is that firefighters have space to fight the fire from within.
Try Out Some Landscaping
With your natural breaker in place, it is necessary to control the shrubbery and trees surrounding your home. You have to be smart with your designations.
There are plants that aid fires and others that slow them down. Go for plants that shed fewer leaves and with a lot of moisture. The former means there isn’t a lot of natural fuel for fire to build on, and the latter ensures some resistance to the fire. Plants like these are described as fire-proof, and the commonest ones include wintergreen, moss phlox, ninebark, wild geranium, nannyberry, bearberry, and columbine.
When planting trees, only select those with rough bark and low sap or resin content. You can consult with your local landscapers to make the appropriate choices here.
When shrubbery and trees are controlled, it becomes necessary to maintain them too.
Use Foams & Gels
Foams are useful for putting out interior fires. They do so by making a thick blanket that sucks oxygen out of the fire, thereby putting out the fire. These foams last for 16 hours on surfaces as they are absorbed by construction materials. However, I’m not referring to ordinary foams. They are EPA-approved and biodegradable.
Foams make good fire-protection tools as they do not stain or damage your structure, nor do they kill plants. You can spray foams with a garden hose or a mechanical pump. You don’t even have to clean up after using foams.
Fire-retardant gels are also a substitute for these foams, but they bring quite the mess, and cleaning up after them costs a fortune. Also, gels will last for only five years, but foams take up to 20.
Also, opt for buy-retardant paint and additives when constructing your house or doing some repairs. These materials are available for interior and exterior usage. They help in keeping fire from spreading.
Conclusion on Protecting Your House From Fire
Protecting your house from fire is compulsory regardless of where you live. I’m not denying that some regions are more prone to fire outbreaks than others, but no place is absolutely safe. Implement the above suggestions alongside your smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. You can also install a swimming pool to connect with certain kits that’ll help to keep your yard perpetually wet. These are not expensive methodologies, and even if they are, the cost of rebuilding after a fire is always more.