It's the dry time of year in California, and again and again we are reminded of the need for fire safety. This year, with the lush growth from spring rains, it is especially important to be aware of the steps necessary to protect ourselves and our neighborhoods from the threat of wildfire.
Fire Safe San Mateo County is an organization created (quoting from their website) "to address the potential for serious loss of life and property in the urban/wildland intermix area (neighborhoods surrounded by dense vegetation)."
Does that sound like your neighborhood?
Member agencies of Fire Safe San Mateo County include various local fire departments/districts, San Mateo County Sheriff and Parks departments, several regional agencies and PG&E. Their mission is "to reduce hazardous vegetation, the creation of defensible space around structures, and the education of citizens regarding fire hazards and fire behavior through the guidance of local agencies." Some readers may be familiar with the Fire Safe sponsored Chipper Program, providing free chipping of vegetation removed by homeowners in some neighborhoods.
Fire Safe San Mateo County has a website with lots of downloadable information. The Living with Fire 2010 (pdf) guide is full of information that applies to us locally. From a list of useful local and regional weblinks and phone numbers to checklists and step by step instructions for creating a defensible space around your home, this colorful guide is easy to read and free. You will find suggestions for fire safe design if you are thinking ahead when creating your landscaping, and you will find tips for creating defensible space with the landscaping and/or natural terrain you already have.
As part of this guide, a checklist that can be torn out and posted in a convenient spot in your home, P.L.E.A.S.E. (Prepare Leave Early And Save Everyone), helps you plan ahead so you will be prepared in case of a fire. In an emergency, the evacuation checklist will also help you to secure your property and to leave in a safe, systematic manner should you be ordered to do so.Since this guide is a download you don't even have to "tear out" pages, you can simply print the ones you want to have handy as hard copy.
No one wants to be a victim of a wildfire. This guide will help you to mitigate the possible damage or avoid a fire altogether. Download the guide and keep the information handy. Being prepared is the key.