As part of our community Firewise program we can make our homes safer by taking the fire-prevention steps recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. There is more information about the Association on the Malvern website.
The Association describes three zones around your house where you can take action: Immediate, Intermediate, and Extended. There are specific things you can do within each zone. Starting this month, I will provide information to help you complete a recommended activity. I'll focus on one activity each month. Of course, these activities are optional, in no way required, and offered as suggestions to help you protect your home.
For this first issue we’ll start with one of the things that can be done within 5 feet of the house, the Immediate Zone. In future issues I'll describe the activities in the Intermediate Zone (beginning in April) and then in the Extended Zone.
The Association recommends doing the following three things in the Immediate Zone:
- Keep all flammable materials away from exterior walls. This includes mulch, flammable plants, pine needles, leaves, piles of firewood and kindling, and anything else that could catch fire.
- Inspect shingles and roof tiles at least once a year. Repair or replace, as necessary. Keep roofs and gutters clear of pine needles, dead leaves, and debris that could catch embers. Repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and any broken windows.
- Remove all flammable materials in the areas below patios and decks. You could consider screening those areas with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating under there and to prevent ember penetration. 1/8-inch metal mesh screening is best for this application. You could also install the same mesh screening over vents in the eaves and in exterior HVAC vents.
In this newsletter, I am providing information on the first item above: keeping flammable materials away from exterior walls. There is a list of flammable plants posted on the Firewise website. Bushes that are not trimmed are more flammable, so be sure to keep bushes near the house trimmed.
A further note about mulch. It should be kept away from exterior walls of the house, so what do you do about mulched gardens and flower beds adjoining your house? A neighbor suggested installing an 18-inch wide gravel buffer between the house and the mulch. Thanks for the suggestion.
Please share information on the Nextdoor website. In addition to this monthly newsletter, I will post updates on the bulletin board near the mailboxes and on Nextdoor.
Susan Korfanty, Firewise Coordinator - (540) 543-3913