Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Florida Firewise Resources

With the active wild fire season (especially here, in Florida) upon us, many people are concerned about protecting there lives and property.  The National Fire Protection Association created the Firewise Communities Program to address these very concerns. 


The NFPA gives the following general safety guidelines:
  • If you're moving to a new home in a rural area or buying land to build a new home, do a thorough outdoor fire safety check before you proceed. Locate the home on the lot with adequate setback from downhill slopes. Wildland fire travels uphill rapidly – make sure that your home won't be in its path.
  • Make sure that the area has adequate public fire protection available. Will emergency vehicles have easy access to the house? Is your address clearly visible from the road? Will firefighters have access to a water supply to put out a fire?
  • Make your roof fire safe. Untreated wood shake roofs are the leading cause of wildland fire losses. A roof made of fire-resistant or non-combustible materials can make your home safer. Also, use non-combustible (metal) screening in eave vents and for windows.
  • Sweep gutters, roofs, and eaves regularly and remove dead branches from around or near chimneys. Burning firebrands or embers can collect in the same space that leaves and pine needles do. Remove leaves and needles from cellar window walls and from corners and crevices around the outside of your home.
  • Create a survivable space, safety zone or "fire break" around your home. Flammable (highly resinous) plants, woodpiles, and debris should be kept as far away from the exterior walls of the home as possible. Fences, decks, or outbuildings connected to the house must be considered part of the house; construct them out of non-combustible materials and keep them clear of pine needles, dead leaves, etc

    Here is a list of resources for Florida wildfire protection:


    • 
    Schedule a Firewise workshop, get a community Wildfire Risk Assessment, or get local wildfire information: Florida Division of Forestry Wildfire Mitigation Specialists:  http://www.fl-dof.com/wildfire/firewise_contacts.html 

    •  General Firewise Communities Information: h
    ttp://www.fldof.com/wildfire/firewise_index.html 

    •  Wildfire Risk Reduction in 
    Florida- Home, Neighborhood, and Community Best Practices:  http://www.fl-dof.com/wildfire/wf_pdfs/Wildfire_Risk_Reduction_in_FL.pdf 

    •  Fire in Florida’s Ecosystems fire education curriculum and resources for grades 3-12: 
    www.fireinflorida.org

    •  Florida Wildfire Prevention online education for grades 3-12: 
    http://floridawildfireprevention.com/