Did you know, May 4th Is Wildfire Community Preparedness Day? Most people don’t. Just like they don’t know that wildfires can affect their homes in our Houston communities. Most people think that wildfires only happen out on the prairie on a ranch somewhere. They happen in our communities, too. Often enough for the City of Houston to include information about them on their website.
While wildfire is rare to the Houston area, during times of extended drought, wildland fires can erupt, causing extensive damage to park lands, homes and businesses. Residents can take steps to protect themselves from the effects of these dangerous natural hazards.
What can I do to protect my community from increased fire dangers?
Be careful with the way that you use fire and other items that can spark. This includes:
- Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials in proper containers, and be sure not to flick cigarette out on highways, where they can set fire to dry grasses in medians and along frontage roads.
- Avoid using chainsaws or other heavy machinery that can spark and cause a fire to form.
- Make sure that you are maintaining your lawn and that it remains moist as much as possible. Doing this early in the morning is your best bet for keeping the moisture in the soil and in the plant.
- Avoid outdoor campfires if possible, but if you do, be sure to use an enclosed container.
- Make sure that trees and shrubbery are properly maintained, and avoid planting trees and bushes under awnings in your home.
- If you live in a more rural environment, create defensible space 100ft around your home, by removing brush, overgrown trees or bushes, and planting succulent plants. This will allow firefighters to more easily defend your home in a wildfire.
- Many fires in our region have been sparked by vehicles idling on tall, dry grasses. If you find yourself in a roadside emergency, if safe, try to park your vehicle on pavement and away from tall grasses. If you do have to park on a median, be sure to keep your vehicle off, to prevent the hot tailpipe from igniting grasses.
If you are ordered to evacuate – do so immediately. Staying behind puts both you and first responders in more danger.
How do I find my Wildfire Risk?
Residents who live along the “wildland-urban interface”, or the place where wild land meets a neighborhood, or other urban environment, are at risk of wildfire. The Texas A&M Forest Service has developed a website to help residents and property owners better understand their risk of wildfire. visit texaswildfirerisk.org to find yours.
What else can we do to make our Houston neighborhoods safer? We get involved. Yes, as individuals, we can take those steps to protect our homes, but as a group, we can make our homes and businesses even safer. The National Fire Protection Association has a guide to help you got the whole community involved in the fire protection plans.
Wildfire Community Preparedness Day
Wildfires across the United States have taken more than 100 lives and cost more than $25 billion dollars in property losses in just the last two years. That’s why it’s so important to take steps to improve the wildfire safety of your home and community.
Become a wildfire safety hero! Begin your journey towards wildfire preparedness by getting involved or organizing a wildfire safety project on May 4. Tell us your story at #WildfirePrepDay or on Facebook.
Encourage local participation!
You can help promote wildfire safety by encouraging residents to work together on a project or event. Participation helps create a sense of community, where neighbors begin to look out for each other. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day projects can also help strengthen relationships between residents and the local fire department, land management agencies, community leaders, and elected officials. See a list of possible projects.
Want to get started?
We have the tools to get you and your community off and running with your own project for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day:
- Download our toolkit, which includes checklists, key steps, safety tips, and much more.
- Distribute our fact sheet (PDF) to let people know more about the event.
- Download a save the date flyer. (PDF)
- NEW! Get guidelines for capturing images that tell your story (PDF).
- NEW! Use this news release template (docx) to announce your community’s participation.
- One of the criteria for becoming a Firewise USA® recognized site requires participating in an annual wildfire risk reduction project. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is a great time to start. Contact your state liaison to begin a community wildfire risk assessment (PDF) to identify and guide your priorities and activities for Prep Day and throughout the year.
At Abacus, we take pride in our community. Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical is a full service residential contractor that has been serving the greater Houston area for over 50 years. Abacus is a member of the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce and has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau of Houston. Abacus is licensed and insured and offers 24/7 emergency service. To learn more about Abacus Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, visit www.abacusplumbing.net or call 713-766-3605. License Numbers: ALAN O'NEILL M-20628 | TACLB82488E | TECL 39119
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