As you perhaps know, the Marin Coalition featured a presentation on wildfire preparedness this week where we heard important information from Mark Brown, Deputy Chief - Marin County Fire Department and Bob Norrbom, Jr., Battalion Chief - Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority. If you missed it, you can view the event on video:
This effective presentation provided a tremendous amount of information about (1) how to defend one’s home against wildfires and (2) what to do to prepare for such a calamity if it should occur in our community. We know some of you are on top of this issue and have already done a lot to prepare, but for those who were unable to attend and given the importance of this issue, we also want to share the attached information to help you increase your awareness of the risk of a fire catastrophe in Marin and to help you prepare if it occurs.
We live in a high-risk area for fire and now have essentially a year-round fire “season”.
Three key points were made by these fire official . Each of us should:
- Register with “Alert Marin” in order to receive emergency telephone notifications from authorities in the event of a fire situation;
- Prepare for evacuation in the event of fire;
- Create “defensible space” around your home to reduce fire risk.
Item 1 is easy. See attached and www.AlertMarin.org
Item 2 is similar to what one does to prepare for an earthquake: know how to turn off your gas; have an emergency kit with food, water, clothes, medicine, backup phone chargers, etc. But for fire, you’ll more likely need to leave quickly (as opposed to ride out the disaster in your backyard). So one should think about:
- how to manually open your electric garage door if power goes out;
- whom to use as an emergency contact point in case mobile service is interrupted;
- what are your options for evacuation routes, in case roads are closed;
- is your insurance adequate to rebuild if your home is destroyed? etc.
You also should prepare for fast collection of essential items if evacuation is needed, such as pets and small children;
- insurance records;
- computers or backup drives;
- passports and other ID;
On Item 3, we found a great website from UC which list all sorts of considerations for defending your property against fire. This means clearing debris and fire fuel materials from areas near the home, modifying landscaping to eliminate dangers, evaluating venting of the structures, assessing structural factors that weaken a home’s resistance to fire (e.g., roof material, presence of dry-rot, deck composition, etc.).
The UC site home page is here:
The quickest way to get an overview of the topics, I found, is to look at the various appendices, available here:
In addition, the group Fire In Marin is holding two free public seminars in October (Fairfax on 10/14 and Pt. Reyes on 10/27) to educate the public on fire preparedness and safety. See attached flyer for information and to register.
These are just the basics, so I encourage you to find out more at any of numerous sources for additional information. Some of these items (e.g. get a different roof) are clearly a heavy lift, but there are many things that can easily be done to improve your chances in a wildfire. Thanks for your attention and please feel free to pass this on to others.
A Place for Conversations That Matter
Scott D. Pinsky, Chair – Marin Coalition
P.O. Box 151112 | San Rafael, CA 94915