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5 Ways to protect your home from a wildfire

Follow these tips to keep your home safe from a wildfire.

Moving to the mountains or grasslands can provide you with a beautiful setting that offers peace and privacy. However, there are certain dangers associated with the area that you should note before you change your address. Wildfire season is between the months of April and October in most areas, and can happen all year long in other spots, noted Allstate Insurance Company. If you're relocating to an affected area, there are precautions you need to take to ensure that you're protected in the event of a fire.

Check your home's perimeter

Start with the area around the frame of your house to keep it protected from the damaging effects of a fire. Since many fires can start from dry leaves and other materials, it's important to clear out gutters and roofs in which they can build up, noted Allstate. Similarly, clear out chimneys frequently and make sure that nothing is blocking them. 

Tend to your yard

Creating a fire safe zone is heavily reliant on a safe yard. Take preventative measures, including stacking firewood as far from your home as possible and also keeping it separated from anything flammable, recommended the Colorado State Forest Service. Even in the winter when the threat of a fire has decreased, it's important to keep at least 30 feet of distance between the pile and your home. When it comes to propane tanks, they should also be kept far away and uncovered. If you must hide the tank, try using nonflammable ground cover rather than shrubbery, which can cause a dangerous situation. Trim shrubbery and regularly cut your grass to remove dead materials and make fires less likely to start or spread in your yard.

Keep a water source available

While your home should already have some sort of water source nearby should a wildfire occur, it's helpful to check to make sure you're prepared. Bodies of water, like lakes and swimming pools, can provide firefighters with the tools they need to extinguish a fire, noted the Colorado State Forest Service. If there are no sources of water in your area, you may need to contact your local fire department to get a hydrant installed. 

Teach fire safety

To reduce the risk of an emergency starting in your own home or yard, your family should be educated on common causes of fires. The U.S. Fire Administration recommended keeping lighters and matches away from children and teaching them about the correct ways of using and disposing of them. Your family should be educated on how to properly use certain appliances, and which materials may pose a threat to them. For example, metal forks and aluminum foil wrap should never be placed in a microwave, as they can cause sparks and start a fire. Fire extinguishers should be kept throughout the home, and each member of the family should know how to properly use one. Additionally, smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your house and in each bedroom.

Create a safety plan

In the event that a fire does happen, you and your family need to have an escape plan in place. First, Cal Fire recommended identifying one spot where your family can gather, should a fire occur. This should be away from the fire zone, but close enough to your home that everyone can get there safely. Next, devise evacuation plans for pets and young children who may not be able to get to safety on their own. An evacuation kit, complete with a portable radio, bottled water and other necessary items, should be kept in your car in the event that you need to make a quick exit from your home.

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