Be Wildfire-Resilient, Start Today
Wildfire is one of the top disaster risks in our area, along with earthquake and severe storm. There is a lot you can do today to improve your chances of surviving a fire with your home intact. Here are the basic steps.
- Harden Your Home, and Your Neighborhood
- Be Prepared for Evacuation
- Help us with the Firewise USA Site program (click here to learn more)
Especially, do their annual Fire Risk Assessment on your home.
Harden Your Home
Hardening your home is about making it harder to burn. There are state and local laws regarding creating a defensible space around your home. There are many little things you can do to make your home less flammable too. Just imagine walking around your home with a burning ember, and look for all the places you could put that ember to set your home on fire. Those are the places where you want to make improvements. Replace flammable roofing and siding. Install ember-proof vents in your eaves and foundation. Keep leaves from building up on your roof or against your house. And keep your fire extinguishers and smoke alarms in good condition.
Harden Your Neighborhood
If all the homes and open areas in your neighborhood are fire safe, you are safer. Defensible space principles apply here too, but there are also some broader issues in the neighborhood. Inspect power lines; they can become overgrown quickly, and conditions can change, threatening lines that were perfectly safe the last time PG&E inspected them. PG&E inspects all lines annually. In our area, that happens at the end of the year. PG&E does a pretty good job of keeping the lines safe, but we are the first line of defense. We are the people who can spot a problem before it becomes a serious risk. We can also work to reduce the overgrowth in the wildland areas adjoining many of our properties. The Town of Woodside and our Fire Department will often help mitigate problems once they are pointed out.
Learn more about PG&E tree management at https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/vegetation-management.page
Learn about the Town of Woodside's Defensible Space and Home Hardening Matching Fund Program at https://www.woodsidetown.org/community/defensible-space-and-home-hardening-matching-fund-program
The WHHA has funds to help Woodside Hills residents, once you use the full funding available from the Town. Learn more on our Matching Fund Program page.
Learn about the Woodside Fire Protection District's Chipper Program at http://woodsidefire.org/prevention/chipper-program
Get the PDF explaining the WFPD's Vegetation Management Requirements here .
Here is an example of what a defensible space project can do. This was done recently by one of our neighbors. The result is dramatic, and obviously less flammable.
Be Prepared for Evacuation
Being prepared to evacuate begins with having a plan. You family might not be together when it comes time to leave. With a shared plan, you will know how to re-connect quickly. If you aren't already signed up with SMCAlert, you should be. This is the main resource that our local emergency managers will use to send information, like "evacuate now." Know all of your evacuation routes, not just the one you take every day. Keep at least a half tank of gas in your car, always. If you think an evacuation is imminent, park your car heading outward, and get it loaded. And if you think it might be time to leave, it is time to leave. It is better to evacuate early than late. If you do wait for the evacuation order to be given, follow the instructions carefully.
Download the American Red Cross Family Disaster Plan template here .
Learn more about planning and preparation at http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Get-Set/
Learn more about evacuation at http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Go-Evacuation-Guide/
To Learn More
WPV-Ready is our local Emergency Preparedness organization. There is also an organization dedicated to Emergency Response, based on the FEMA Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. That organization is WPV-CERT. They give training that teaches valuable skills for emergency response.
Learn more about WPV-Ready at http://WPV-Ready.org.
Learn more about WPV-CERT at http://WPV-CERT.org.
Get more details and simple to-do lists to prepare for wildfire at the WPV-Ready Wildfire page, http://WPV-Ready.org/Wildfire.
If You SEE Something, SAY Something
If you see fire hazards in your neighborhood, let someone know. Here are some of the most useful ways you can tell someone about a problem.
And remember, defensible space and home hardening work!