The idea of home hardening usually conjures images of completely residing your house with non-flammable material, replacing windows with double pane windows, or installing a new non-flammable roof—all outside of the budget for most of us.
What can you do this weekend?
The reality is, there are many, many home-hardening activities you can tackle—with no money and only a little of your time. Here are just a few of the many ideas:
- Clean rain gutters and roofs of leaves and debris.
- Cover all vent openings with 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch metal mesh. Do not use fiberglass or plastic mesh because they can melt and burn. If possible, use Ember and flame-resistant vents (WUI vents).
- Install screens in all usable windows to increase ember resistance and decrease radiant heat exposure.
- Create an ember-resistant zone around and under all decks, and remove all combustible items from underneath your deck.
- Close the fireplace flue during fire season when the chimney is unused.
- Add a battery backup to the garage door motor so the garage can easily be operated if power is out.
- Install weather stripping around all doors, including under the garage door, to prevent embers from blowing in.
- Make sure your address is clearly visible from the road.
- Have multiple garden hoses long enough to reach all areas of your home and other structures on your property. If you have a pool or well, consider getting a pump.
Resources to explore….
There are many great resources to help you prioritize your home-hardening efforts to tackle things that make the biggest difference. Here are just a few:
Read here to find the 5 least expensive home hardening projects.
This is an excellent homeowners guide from Fire Safe Sonoma Living with Fire
This is a short video: NFPA Structural Hardening by Dr. Jack Cohen (13 min.)
Here is Calfire’s Low-Cost Retrofit list