Be Wildfire Ready This Season

We all know how unpredictable and destructive wildfires are in our area. But there are things you and I can do to be prepared—to slow them down—to protect our family and property. And the Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s Ready! Set! Go! Program makes that preparation easy…

Ready! Prepare yourself, your family and your property.

Set! Monitor fire weather / activity and prepare to evacuate.

Go! Leave early and when directed by public safety officials.

11 Tips to Being Ready, Set, Go!:

• Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.

• Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it.

• Use fire-resistant (or noncombustible) materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling, or treat wood or other combustible materials used in roofs, siding, decking or trim with fire-retardant chemicals.

• Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees. For example, hardwood trees are less flammable than pine, evergreen, eucalyptus or fir trees.

• Regularly clean roof and gutters.

• Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year. Keep the dampers in good working order. Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester.

• Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once each year.

• Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it’s kept.

• Keep household items handy that can be used as fire tools: rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.

• Keep a ladder that will reach your roof.

• Clear items that will burn from around your house, including woodpiles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space. (A minimum of 100 feet of defensible space is required around your home. This means that the area around your home be free of flammable plants and objects.)

The Ready! Set! Go! Program was launched to help raise awareness and reduce life and property loss caused by wildfires.