Tennessee residents often choose to make their homes in woodland settings–in or near forests, rural areas or remote mountain sites. There, homeowners enjoy the beauty of the environment, but also face the very real danger of wildfire.
“Wildfires often begin unnoticed,” Tennessee Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak says. “They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes. Reduce your risk by preparing now, before a wildfire starts. Meet with your family to decide what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area.”
Follow the U.S. Fire Administration’s steps listed below to protect your family, home, and property.
Plan & Practice Wildfire Safety
•Conduct outdoor burn-ing safely and legally, being sure to secure the appropriate permits. For more information on that, http://1.usa.gov/16PG719.
•Make sure that fire vehicles can reach your home. Clearly mark all driveway entrances and display your name and address. Ensure adequate accessibility by large fire vehicles to your property.
•Report hazardous con-ditions that could cause a wildfire.
•Teach children about fire safety. Instill in them that fire is a tool for adults, not a toy. Keep matches and lighters out of their reach.
•Post fire emergency telephone numbers.
•Plan several escape routes away from your home – by car and by foot.
•Talk to your neighbors about wildfire safety. Consider how you could help neighbors – such as elderly or disabled persons – who have special needs. Make plans to take care of children who might be on their own if parents can't get home.
Protect Your Home
• Create a 30-to-100-foot safety zone around your home.
•Rake and remove leaves, dead limbs and rubbish from around and under structures in this zone and clear all flammable vegetation.
•Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.
•Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
•Regularly clean roofs and gutters, and inspect chimneys.
•Remove vines from the walls of the home.
•Mow grass regularly.
•Store gasoline, oily rags and other flammable mat-erials in approved safety cans. Place cans in a safe location away from the base of buildings.
•Stack firewood at least 100 feet away and uphill from your home. Clear combustible material with-in 20 feet. Use only wood-burning devices evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory.
•Identify and maintain an adequate outside water source such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool or hydrant.
•If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
•Wear protective cloth-ing: sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face.
•Lock your home when you go.
•Tell someone when you leave and where you are going.
•Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.