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Old 06-24-2009, 09:33 AM   #1
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Default Preparing my family for a fire

I live in Southern California and we’ve had a bad record of wildfires over the past few years. I’d really like suggestions on things I can to do prepare my family if and when this situation happens again. Are there things I can do personally, other than just talking to them about it? I think it could be helpful to enroll them in a rec class or something offered through a school or extra curricular program. Does anyone know of any organizations that do this? Maybe the red cross? I’ve also heard about a local self defense studio that does a disaster preparation course, but I’m not sure what my best option would be. My kids are 8 and 13, so it would need to be geared towards that age group. I’d appreciate any suggestions!

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Old 06-24-2009, 12:40 PM   #2
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Move...........? Seriously, after watching mother nature win the war time and time again, I don't think there's much you can do to stop her if she has her mind made up - short of defoliation around your house and familiarity with pre-planned exit routes (house, property, and neighborhood) there's not much you're gonna do to mitigate the effects of a wildfire. Your local Fire Dept. should have more and better information and advice on disaster preparedness for wildfires. I don't see what a self-defense course or a "rec" class is going to do for you in a wild fire....maybe if you lived in East LA....

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Old 06-24-2009, 05:03 PM   #3
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Default House Fires...

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Originally Posted by anniee View Post
I live in Southern California and we’ve had a bad record of wildfires over the past few years. I’d really like suggestions on things I can to do prepare my family if and when this situation happens again. Are there things I can do personally, other than just talking to them about it? I think it could be helpful to enroll them in a rec class or something offered through a school or extra curricular program. Does anyone know of any organizations that do this? Maybe the red cross? I’ve also heard about a local self defense studio that does a disaster preparation course, but I’m not sure what my best option would be. My kids are 8 and 13, so it would need to be geared towards that age group. I’d appreciate any suggestions!

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” Steven Wright
1. Clear all brush from 100 ft. of the house.
2. If you have any "oil" plants (eucalyptus, etc.), remove them.
3. Use metal shingles.
4. Capture rainwater to use so that small fires don't get out of hand.
5. Have SEVERAL escape routes, including overland on foot.
6. When they tell you to go, GO.

As far as fires IN the home, almost everyone will sleep through a smoke alarm. Kids are dead to the world when asleep. Install solid, fire-rated doors. The longer you can keep the smoke and flames away (especially the smoke!), the better. Buy some Fire Hoods. These are small, plastic bags that fit over the head and protect against heat and smoke, such as this one: PEACE OF MIND Evacuation Hood. Practice escaping the house by a variety of methods.

Good luck!
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:28 AM   #4
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If you or your children sleep in a bedroom on a floor to far to safely jump from purchase those fire ladders that you can drop out your window.

Make sure you stay current on your fire insurance and have plenty of it. Sounds stupid but if you know your insured in an emergency it makes it easier for you to focus on the only important thing, getting out fast. "Things" (even guns) can be replaced.

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Old 06-25-2009, 12:37 AM   #5
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Call Cal-Fire and ask them for a checklist. Follow that checklist to the T.

Buy a fire rated safe and put all of your valuables and keepsakes into it. Most are rated for longer than it takes a house to burn to the ground.

With your absolute must have stuff in that safe, you can cut and run when necessary. Up here in Northern Cali, we have the same threat of fires that you guys have. Everything from legal documents to baby books reside in our fire safe.

Cut everything but small landscaping plants back from the house as far as possible, at least 100 feet.

If a fire threatens your house, take every hose you have and hose everything down until the evacuation order comes. When that order comes, it's for your own safety and the safety of the firefighters. Cut and run, don't give it second thought, don't balk, just get the hell out.

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Old 06-25-2009, 01:28 AM   #6
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I'm not from a fire danger area, and i've always wondered why people don't put a sprinkler system on the outside of their house. Could you mount a few sprinklers on the roof with some kind of protected hose, perhaps going directly to one faucet near the main water line to the house? That may violate some water policy, i've just always wondered about that. I mean they do use sprinklers inside buildings, why wait until the fire is inside?

Does that make any sense; i live in swampy MS.

Regarding fireproof storage, i wonder if the fireproof filing cabinets would suffice (we use them at the office)? If so, there may be a second-hand office equipment store in your area with a deal. I got some great shelves & such at a used office stuff place in Memphis, TN. Good Luck!

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Old 06-25-2009, 02:45 AM   #7
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One thing most people miss is if a fire occurs the first thing you should do is to flip the main breaker off in the electric panel if you can. Second, if you can, turn the gas off as well, and only if you can safely.

Dont risk yourself if the fire is too enveloping to do these two things after you get you and your family out.

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:02 PM   #8
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Property is replaceable...

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Old 07-03-2009, 03:51 AM   #9
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My kids are 8 and 13, so it would need to be geared towards that age group. I’d appreciate any suggestions!

I'm thinking that the boy scouts, girl scouts, and various explorer programs might be your best bet. Even in the Cub Scouts you learn to "Be Prepared" and many of the badge projects may prove useful. If the kids are used to going camping, it'll prepare them for evacuation adventures.
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:35 PM   #10
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Default Escapeing in a dash

Having a family, its kids and pets first, the rest is replaceable, the key is having some money money will score you shelter / food /clothing, the chances of saving something you can use is questionable at best, you dont have time. if ther was something you could grab on the way out the door would be a small back pack with a couple changes of clothes, shoes and travlers checks.
One thing to consider is mabe one or more of you not surviveing the fire!
What would happen to your kids if you went back in the house for your bank card and never returned? are you set up to have your kids go into the care of a trusted relative or friend??
What if your youngest is badly burned? can you afford time off from work?
are you insured for fire? Ive seen they have a insurance if you die it pays off your mortgage.
Does your family have burial plans? I dont and I know it would be a complication if I died, who would get my childern? not my ex-strife! they go to trusted relatives. same for the property, it goes to a trusted relative as well. I live over 1700 miles away from my closest blood relatives, I do have a very good network of close trusted friends to support my children if the worse case sinerio happens.
20 years ago I collected everything I thought I needed and packed for my new life working in Alaska it amounted to 6 pairs of work jeans, work boots & socks, work shirts, under garments, a sleeping bag, and winter outer work wear+ pack boots and my hand carry tool box of 53# of aviation maintenance tools and $900 in travlers checks. all in 3 duffle bags and a tool box.
If you dont have much of anything Money is the most usefull, after escapeing near death get a hotel room and go to good will and stock up on replacement garments, hit a couple flea markets and get wgatever else is needed.

Money greases the skids down the road of life.

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