TULSA - In August 2012, wildfire ravaged Creek County leaving more than 58,000 acres burned and dozens of homes destroyed.
Do you know what to do to protect your family and your property?
-- Download Storm Shield Weather Radio app. You can set alerts to notify you of all types of storms including Fire Weather Watch and Red Flag Warning. Available for iPhone (http://bit.ly/kjrhstormshield)and Android (http://bit.ly/stormshieldandroid).
-- To begin preparing, you should 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 combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking or trim with fire-retardant chemicals evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
-- 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 that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Standard 211. (Contact your local fire department for exact specifications.)
-- Use 1/8-inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas, and the home itself. Also, screen openings to floors, roof and attic.
-- Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test 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 handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
-- Keep a ladder that will reach the roof.
-- Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes.
-- Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space.
PREPARE YOUR HOME BEFORE A WILDFIRE
-- Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation.
-- Remove leaves and rubbish from under structures.
-- Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns, and remove limbs within 15 feet of the ground.
-- Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.
-- Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.
-- Ask the power company to clear branches from powerlines.
-- Remove vines from the walls of the home.
-- Mow grass regularly.
-- Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and the barbecue. Place a screen over the grill - use nonflammable material with mesh no coarser than one-quarter inch.
-- Regularly dispose of newspapers and rubbish at an approved site. Follow local burning regulations.
-- Place stove, fireplace and grill ashes in a metal bucket, soak in water for 2 days; then bury the cold ashes in mineral soil.
-- Store gasoline, oily rags and other flammable materials in approved safety cans. Place cans in a safe location away from the base of buildings.
-- Stack firewood at least 100 feet away and uphill from your home. Clear combustible material within 20 feet. Use only wood-burning devices evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
-- Review your homeowner's insurance policy and also prepare/update a list of your home's contents.
DURING (IF EVACUATION HAS NOT BEEN ORDERED)
-- Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area in case you need to evacuate.
-- Wear protective clothing when outside – sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothes, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face.
-- Gather fire tools such as a rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket and shovel.
-- Close outside attic, eaves and basement vents, windows, doors, pet doors, etc. Remove flammable drapes and curtains. Close all shutters, blinds or heavy non-combustible window coverings to reduce radiant heat.
-- Close all doors inside the house to prevent draft. Open the damper on your fireplace, but close the fireplace screen.
-- Shut off any natural gas, propane or fuel oil supplies at the source.
-- Connect garden hoses to outdoor water faucet and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs or other large containers with water.
-- Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above-ground fuel tanks. Leave sprinklers on and dowsing these strutures as long as possible.
-- If you have gas-powered pumps for water, make sure they are fueled and ready.
-- Place a ladder against the house in clear view.
-- Disconnect any automatic garage door openers so that doors can still be opened by hand if the power goes out. Close all garage