• drought tolerance 4. large glass windows facing slope For additional information: • slow growth, which means they require less pruning 5. unprotected louvers in front Nebraska Forest Service 6. firewood stored too close to home Nebraska Forest Service 7. inadequate vegetation clearance Rural Fire Protection Program 8. tree limbs overhanging roof. PO Box 830815 9. chimney spark arrestor missing Lincoln, NE 68583-0815 10. no access for emergency vehicles Roof Your roof is the most vulnerable part of your house and Phone: 402-472-2944 should be constructed of fire-resistant roofing materials. Fax: 402-472-2964 A sprinkler system with a water supply is recommended. Website: www.nfs.unl.edu Zone 1: Moist and Trim Additional steps homeowners can take to reduce the risk Zone 1 includes the first 30 to 50 feet surrounding your of fire include: home. Low-growing, fire-resistant plants in this zone • clearing leaves or debris from your roof and gutters; resist catching fire and provide little fuel. Turf, ground • removing overhanging dead limbs; cover, annuals and perennials form a greenbelt that, if • removing any tree branches within 10 feet of the regularly watered and maintained, eliminates dry plant chimney; and litter. Occasional shrubs and trees located at least 10 feet • covering the chimney outlet with a nonflammable from the house are allowed. screen of ½-inch mesh. Zone 2: Low and Sparse Outbuildings Zone 2 includes the area 30/50 to 100 feet surrounding • have tools such as a shovel, hoe, rake, garden hose your home. Slow-growing, drought-tolerant shrubs and and buckets available for use in a wildfire emergency ground covers in this zone keep fire near ground level. • store lawn mowers, snow blowers, tillers, garden Native vegetation can be retained here if it is low- tractors, etc., in a storage building away from the growing and does not accumulate dry, flammable house material. Zone 3: High and Clean • store gasoline in approved metal containers away from sources of ignition Country Living at Its Best Zone 3 includes the area 100 to 150 feet surrounding • keep vegetation cleared at least 10 feet in all Written by Bob Vogltance and Larry Wiles, What every country homeowner your home. Fire intensity is reduced where there is less fuel available. Native trees in this zone are thinned and directions from gasoline and diesel fuel storage tanks • make sure wiring to fuel pumps on fuel storage tanks Nebraska Forest Service needs to know about fire! dry debris is removed. This zone requires major pruning is in good condition Graphics: www.firewise.org every three to five years. • make sure electric service lines, fuse boxes and circuit breaker panels are installed and maintained properly Nebraska Forest Service Danger times 10 The University of Nebraska-Lincoln does not 1. untreated wood shake shingles discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, 2. home located on a slope color, religion, marital status, veteran’s status, 3. wood deck facing slope national or ethnic origin or sexual orientation. RFPO3-07 For most people, a home in the country Before you move After you move • install fire extinguishers in the basement and garage represents a peaceful contrast to fast- Before you move, examine the location: After you move, there are a number of things you can do • dispose of oily rags in metal containers paced city life, providing an opportunity to • How far is it to the nearest town? to protect your home from fire. • store combustibles away from heat sources, such as maintain a job in the city while enjoying • Are the roads hard-surfaced and wide enough for Inside the home the hot water heater and furnace the aesthetics of a country home. easy access by emergency vehicles? Fires starting within the home can threaten your safety • store flammables, such as paint, varnish and paint • Are there any natural obstacles that may prevent whether you live in the city or the country. Each room remover, in metal cabinets The movement of people from towns and access, such as rivers or streams which routinely deserves special consideration. • change furnace filters monthly cities to rural areas is a national trend that flood? • install a residential sprinkler system with a water began in the 1960s. For many, a rural • Are roads cleared of snow in the winter? Kitchen source having an alternate source of power in the • keep flammable curtains and towels away from home has become a dream come true. • Are roads dead-end, which will prevent emergency event of a power failure burners and stoves However, homes are often built for vehicles from turning around? • move handles of pots and pans containing hot liquids Outside your home aesthetic values and economic • Is there a water supply nearby for fire department Living in the country can put you and your home at risk considerations. In many cases little regard away from the front of the stove use? If not, how far is it to a water supply, such as a from wildfire. Taking steps to keep the area surrounding is given to fire protection. Placed in rural • keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen pond, lake or fire hydrant? your home safe not only can prevent fires, but also can • make sure electrical outlets are designed to handle wildland settings, often called the • Are electrical and telephone lines buried or above make a big difference if a wildfire threatens your home. wildland/urban interface in which fire is a appliance loads ground? Yard natural part of the ecology, these homes • Are roads named or numbered to easily identify the Living Room • install a screen on your fireplace • stack woodpiles at least 30 feet from all structures are in peril. location? and clear away flammable vegetation within 10 feet • store fireplace ashes in a metal container and dispose Remember that emergency vehicles need more room to of them outside, away from structures of the woodpile Every year many homes in the • locate fuel tanks at least 30 feet from structures and maneuver and turn than passenger vehicles. Without • clean fireplace, chimney and flue annually wildland/urban interface are damaged or 10 feet from any combustibles adequate access, a property may be difficult, sometimes • do not use extension cords destroyed. Many of these homes could • remove leaf and debris piles even impossible, to reach with emergency equipment. have been saved if simple precautions had Properties with good access have the following Bedroom • if open burning is allowed, obtain a burn permit to been taken before a fire struck. By taking characteristics: • turn off electric blankets and heating pads when not burn debris steps to protect their property, homeowners in use • if burn barrels are allowed, clear flammable materials • roads that accommodate two-way traffic; can prevent their dream home from turning • more than one way into and out of the property; • do not smoke in bed at least 10 feet around the barrel and cover the open into a nightmare. Bathroom • room for emergency vehicles to turn and maneuver; top with ¼-inch wire mesh • bridges, if in the area, that can accommodate heavy • unplug curling irons and hair dryers when done; store • mow your yard regularly The most effective fire prevention device in a safe location until cool • if you have an external water source, such as a pond emergency vehicles; and yet invented is YOUR attitude. With a • keep flammable items such as towels away from wall • roads and properties easily identified by name or or swimming pool, make sure it is accessible to the fire positive, proactive attitude you can enjoy and floor heaters department number. your country home with confidence by • do not use electrical appliances in bathtubs following the prevention measures Landscape • keep radios away from wet areas Your home landscape needs three zones of defense suggested here. • install ground fault outlets in circuits near water against encroaching wildfire. A transition between the (sinks or tubs) zones creates breaks in the path to slow advancing Garage, Basement and Entire Home flames. A minimum distance of 100 to 150 feet around • store matches and lighters out of the reach of your home is required to accommodate these zones. children Steep slopes or windswept exposures require greater • place the fire department’s phone number and distances. directions to your home next to the telephone Fire-resistant plants should be used in the zones of • install child safety caps on electrical outlets defense. Characteristics of fire-resistant plants are: • install smoke detectors between living and sleeping • little or no seasonal accumulation of dead vegetation areas; change the batteries in the spring and fall • open, loose branching • disconnect electrical tools and appliances when not • non-resinous woody material (avoid conifers) in use; allow to cool before storing • low volume of total vegetation Crown fires are much more difficult to contain than Surface fuels, such as low-growing shrubs and • install a solid wood door with self-closing hinges • high moisture content in leaves surface fires, making them much more destructive. debris, provide the pathway for making a surface fire between the living areas and garage a crown fire.
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