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The original item was published from 5/13/2014 2:47:46 PM to 5/13/2014 2:47:46 PM.

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Fire

Posted on: April 30, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Chief's Message on Wildfire Safety

As your Fire Chief, I can tell you that our best efforts to combat a wildfire are before it ever occurs. Due to a shortage of rainfall, the fire season in 2013 is expected to come early and be severe. Residents play an important role in the safety of your home and neighborhood. Ready, Set, Go! is a wild-fire action plan developed for residents that we have adopted in Larkspur and all communities within Marin County.

As we know, most homes destroyed by wildfire are lost to burning embers blown far ahead of a moving fire. Rather than being reactive, Ready, Set, Go! is proactive. Your Personal Wildfire Action Plan
Ready, Set, Go! teaches Marin residents about ways to prepare their home and property in advance (Ready) Create defensible space around your home of at least 100 feet. Prune tree limbs hanging over your house and make sure your roof and gutters are free of leaves and pine needles. Make sure shrubbery is away from the sides of your house and that leaf litter under them is cleared away. Embers from a wind- driven wildfire can land in these places and start new fires. Replace flammable wood roofs with fire- resistant materials. Use fire-safe building materials and plant fire-resistant landscaping;
Prepare emergency supplies and prepare evacuation plans (Set) Put together some basic supplies and prepare a list of the things to take with you if you need to evacuate. Consider items like cash, charge cards, important papers, medications, phone chargers, computers and don’t forget your pets. Plan escape routes in advance; have at least two different ways out of your neighborhood if possible. When a wildfire does threaten your neighborhood, act immediately. Move your car into the driveway or park it pointing toward your escape route with the windows rolled up and load your car with essential items you want to take. Do your best to remove combustible materials from around your house such as patio furniture, firewood, or other items that could catch fire. Then monitor the news for information on the fire;
And then evacuate early (Go!), long before a fire actually threatens. Don’t wait to be told to evacuate, please leave early! At this point, you’ve done everything you can to make your house more defensible, you’ve prepared yourself and your family and you’ve loaded the car, so please go! By leaving early, you ensure your family’s safety and you provide your firefighters with safe room to access and do their best to protect your home.
All too often, tragic outcomes have occurred in fire incidents where residents have not evacuated early, killing not only residents who stayed behind, but also firefighters. If anything can be said it’s “please...prepare first and go early.” Residents should realize the practical limitations we have with numbers of firefighters and engines...there just aren’t enough to go around and we face significant limitations due to the overwhelming threat presented by years of vegetation growth, homes adjacent and around brush areas and the power of nature. Some homes are nearly impossible to protect given access, lack of defensible space and combustible finishes.

We make house calls 24/7 without delay and remain available to come and visit residents and neighborhood groups to discuss wildfire safety and make sure that they are prepared to Ready, Set, Go! Homeowners are encouraged to contact their local San Rafael Fire Station for further information and assistance.

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