Compiled by Dick Oakes
Maintaining Your Defensible Space
- A home that is located in a forest is dynamic and always changing.
- Trees and shrubs continue to grow, plants die or are damaged, new plants begin to grow, and others drop their leaves and needles.
- Defensible space requres maintenance.
- Practice family fire drills and a fire evacuation plan.
- Discuss escape routes, meeting points, and other details and make sure they are understood by all family members.
Defensible Space and FireWise Annual Checklist
- Trees and shrubs must be properly thinned and pruned within the defensible space and slash from the thinning is eliminated.
- Roof and gutters must be cleared of debris, especially pine needles.
- Branches overhanging the roof and chimney must be removed.
- Chimney screens must be in place and in good condition.
- Grass and weeds must be mowed to an acceptable height, especially when cured and dry.
- An outdoor water supply must be available, complete with a hose and nozzle that can reach all parts of the house.
- Fire extinguishers must be checked and in working condition.
- The driveway must be wide enough and the clearance of trees and branches must be adequate for fire and emergency equipment.
- Road signs, name signs, and house number must be posted, easily visible, and made of non-flamable materials.
- There must be an easily accesible tool storage area with rakes, hoes, axes, and shovels for use in case of fire.
- Attic, roof, eaves, and foundation vents must be screened and in good condition.
- Stilt foundations and decks must be enclosed, screened, or walled up.
- Trash and debris accumulations must be removed from the defensible space.
- A checklist for fire safety needs inside the home must also have been completed.