If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911. For our emergency fire damage restoration services, contact us at (877) 468-3566.
All along the western coast of the U.S., it seems that wildfires increase in severity and range every summer and fall. In 2020, California broke records for the widespread wildfires that raged throughout the southern part of the state. By November, 52,113 wildfires burned a total of 8,889,297 acres, about 2.3 million more than the previous 10-year average and almost double the acreage burned in 2019. By December of 2020, 10,488 buildings and other structures were damaged or destroyed with at least 31 deaths recorded. These statistics all go to show how important it is to take steps to protect your home from potential wildfire spread and to make fire preparedness plans for you and your loved ones, or for your employees if you are concerned wildfire might impact your company. If you are facing the effects of wildfires or other building fires, ServiceMaster Recovery by C2C Restoration provides comprehensive services for fire damage restoration in Los Angeles County, CA and the surrounding regions.
Our fire damage restoration services help you recover from the ground up. Not only do we offer 24/7/365 emergency services, we will work with you to recover all of your belongings, coordinate coverage with your insurance provider, and walk you through this difficult time with efficiency and sensitivity. Whether your home or your business was impacted by any kind of fire, our restoration technicians will provide complete services including:
- Inspection of the damage and pack out of all interior objects, including personal belongings, electronics, furniture, appliances, artwork, and more.
- Board up of your building to keep out the weather and potential human or animal intruders while your building is restored.
- Clean, recover, sanitize, and salvage all your belongings in a secure off-site location. We will also replace any items that can’t be repaired or cleaned.
- Restore the foundation, supporting structure, exterior, and interior of your building, including reconstruction, smoke and soot removal, deodorization, sanitization, and recover any damage around the building to landscaping, driveways, outbuildings, and more.
- Mitigate the issues of water damage and potential mold growth from moisture left by fire hoses.
- Air duct and HVAC cleaning to ensure no soot is compromising your indoor air quality.
- Provide document/data recovery of lost financial, personal, or business information.
- Maintain a completely open communication line and provide feedback every step of the way with you, your family, or your employees.
In addition to the increase of wildfires spreading to urban areas in Southern California, building fires from electrical problems, candles, cigarettes, kitchen accidents, and many other causes are still common problems in residential neighborhoods and commercial centers. While many fires can’t be predicted, there are steps you can take for some emergency preparedness and fire response tactics.
Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, fire drills, and establishing escape routes are all simple ways to implement very effective fire response and prevention methods. When it comes to wildfires, there are other ways you can protect your home or business with certain defense systems that can go a long way.
Creating a defensible space
The 100- to 200-foot perimeter around your building is considered a “home ignition zone.” Radiant heat from a wildfire can ignite a home from up to 100 feet away. Wildfires approaching your home need to be stopped far outside of this zone to maintain a safe space. If you are able to create defenses past the 200-foot perimeter, that will be the best way to protect your home from a moving wildfire, but if you can’t take action that far away, make changes to the areas 30-100 feet from your home.
The first thing you should do to create a defensible space is to remove any fuel sources from the area. Clear vegetation, remove any firewood, propane tanks, or other clear sources of fuel. Outdoor furniture, mulch, and other aspects of landscaping are often fire hazards when wildfires are nearby due to their high flammability. Landscaped plants should be spaced out with low-hanging branches trimmed. Vegetation should always be watered regularly to prevent fire-friendly leaves, bark, or branches. Well-spaced plant life can actually create fire barriers by blocking flying embers from drifting too far.
Keep your gutters clean, roof cleared of plant matter, and firewood at least 30 feet from the house. If possible, your roof should be constructed with highly fire-retardant materials like Class-A rated fiberglass asphalt shingles, metal, tiles, or slate. If you can’t afford to refinish your roof, you can proof it with a fire-retardant treatment or install a rooftop sprinkler system.
Install anti-fire home treatments
There are many ways you can treat your house to protect it from flying embers and wildfire flames. Cleaning your roof and deck are just the start of anti-fire home treatments. To protect your building from flying embers, seal open vents with screens or coverings, make sure pet doors can close properly, and box-in open eaves. Flames can also melt plastic skylights and crack glass in windows or doors. Installing double-pane tempered glass, covering skylights with flame retardant materials, and screens in all windows will give you back-up safety systems if your home is exposed to radiant wildfire heat.
Metal angle flashing installed along the edges of your roof and where wood decks meet your house siding will also protect from flying embers. Ensure caulked seals on your exterior are in good condition and eliminate any holes in your rooftop. Embers will often enter a building through unsealed areas or cracks in a roof. Remove wooden fencing or gates and replace them with metal or brick counterparts. If you can’t replace wood fencing, install a masonry or metal barrier between wood perimeters and your building. Burning wooden fences significantly increase the chances of embers floating and catching your house on fire.
Ensure your home has at least one access route for emergency responders. Make sure responders can find your home with marked street signs and address numbers, keep driveways clear, and know your local emergency water source.
Know your zones
The NFPA and other disaster response providers have established wildfire zone measurements. Memorizing the distance markers for each zone and recommendations for securing zones is an important part of wildfire preparedness. The three major zone measurements include:
- Zone 1: Measuring 0-5 feet from your home, Zone 1 recommendations include hardscaping to create fuel breaks. This includes removing vegetation, keeping plants at least 5 feet from your home, clearing your deck and roof, and storing flammable materials in zones further away.
- Zone 2: This zone measures 5-30 feet from your home. Recommendations for fire safety include well-maintained and spread-out clusters of trees and shrubs to catch flying embers, pruned tree branches up to 12 feet high, and allowances of 10 feet between treetops.
- Zone 3: This final zone measures 30-100 feet from your house. The remainder of this space should follow Zone 2 rules for vegetation, trees, and shrubs, but treetops can be planted closer together than 10 feet.
When you start to prepare your home’s perimeter to protect your property against wildfires, keep in mind these zone measurements and the recommendations for each area. In some cases, the slope of a property may require increased measurements for all zones. Remember that fire can travel downhill faster than on level ground.
Work as a community
Wildfire protection and emergency response in communities and neighborhoods are valuable resources if everyone works together. Even a thorough fire readiness plan can benefit from the help of others. In many suburban areas, homes are closer together than the 30-100 feet of Zone 3. Your fire protections are only as good as your neighbor’s lack of any preparations. If any of your neighborhood is exposed to wildfire embers or flames, you can prevent further damage by taking action and working with your community.
There are many ways for communities to work together to prepare and respond to a wildfire. Community-organized fire readiness programs are offered nationwide, including through the U.S. Forest Service, the NFPA’s Firewise USA, and more. The NFPA also created the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day to raise awareness for local programs and ways neighborhood members can protect each other. In California, the California Fire Safe Council and the California Fire Prevention Organization provide in-depth information and directions for forming a disaster-ready community.
Wildfires are dangerous and scary natural disasters/man-made accidents, and the increase in annual wildfires in recent years is alarming. Remember, however, there are always ways to protect your home and community. Take deliberate steps to create fire preparedness plans and systems, and find ways to work with your community to protect everyone together.
If you ever face the terrible damage a wildfire or any other building fire can leave behind, ServiceMaster Recovery by C2C Restoration is here for you. To learn more about our complete services for fire damage restoration in Los Angeles County, CA and the local communities, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or at our fast response LA line: (323) 851-5543. For emergencies, contact us at (877) 468-3566.