THAT DRY BRUSH
warm, dry climate and semi-rural landscape that has attracted us to
the Palos Verdes Peninsula brings with it the potential for disaster
each summer and fall. Although we have been very lucky here on the Peninsula
in recent years, almost every year since 1982 wildfires in California
have resulted in either gubernatorial proclamations of a state of emergency
or presidential declarations of a major disaster.
To reduce your risk
of fire-related death, injury or property damage take these precautions
to make the environment outside and inside your home safer:
- Clear dry grass,
brush and leaves out of your yard.
- Remove dead limbs
located over roofs and all limbs within 10 feet of chimneys.
- Prune lower limbs
within 6 feet of the ground on trees 18 feet high or taller to prevent
ground fires from spreading to trees.
- Thin out heavily
- Remove weak,
dead or leaning trees.
- Vary the heights
of plants, shrubs and trees, and provide adequate spacing between
- Keep plants,
shrubs and trees away from power lines.
- Use fire-resistant
plants to landscape.
- Clear debris
from the roof, gutters and downspouts.
- Relocate firewood
at least 30 feet from all structures and 10 feet from vegetation.
- Keep gas and
propane tanks at least 30 feet from all structures and 10 feet from
- Replace wood
shake and other combustible roofing materials with noncombustible
- Cover chimneys
and stovepipes with non-flammable ½ inch or less mesh screens.
- Box and enclose
roof eaves that extend beyond the exterior walls of the house.
- Cover all attic
and ridge vents with non-flammable ½ inch mesh screens.
- Make sure the
address number of your house is clearly visible at the curbside.
- Make sure your
smoke detectors are made and certified by an approved lab.
- Install smoke
detectors on ceilings inside each bedroom and in the hallway on every
- Test detectors
at least once per month.
- Change the batteries
every six months.
- Ensure that fire
extinguishers are approved by an independent testing lab.
- Place fire extinguishers
in easily accessible locations.
- Teach responsible
family members where they are located and how to use them.
- Remember the
word P-A-S-S when using the extinguisher:
the nozzle at the base of the flames.
the chemical side-to-side to extinguish the fire.
Plan for Evacuation
Develop and practice
an evacuation plan for your home. Your plan should include:
- A floor plan
marked with all escape routes
- Easily accessible
exits for young children, seniors and persons with disabilities.
Locate their rooms close to exits.
- A list of valuables
to take in an emergency. Store them in one place.
- A designated
place to reunite after evacuation
- The location
of animal shelters or other sites which house pets.
Work with neighbors
- People with
- People who
need transportation to other sites.
Work with local
emergency officials to identify:
- Several routes
out of your neighborhood.
- Likely evacuation
What to Do When
a Fire Occurs
If a fire occurs
while you are inside, remember the following:
- Call 9-1-1 and
tell the dispatcher where you are.
- Feel the top
and the bottom of the door with the back of your hand before exiting.
Cautiously open the door if it is cool. Do not exit if the door is
hot. Try your alternate exit instead. Repeat this step at every closed
- Close doors behind
you when evacuating to slow down flames, smoke and heat.
- Help young children,
seniors and persons with disabilities to evacuate.
- Close the door
and stay in the room if fire, smoke or heat are blocking all of your
- Keep smoke and
fumes out by stuffing cracks around doors and vents with sheets, blankets,
- Open a window
if no smoke is entering the room and place a sheet or a cloth outside
as a signal for help.