Ready SoCal: Fire-ready home

LOS ANGELES In the San Bernardino Mountains, the 2003 "Old Fire" was simply devastating. In it, 91,000 acres burned, destroying 940 homes.

One particular home in the Cajon Pass sat directly in the fire's path. However, it was spared.

"As I recall this fire, the 2003 Old Fire actually came in right behind this structure here," said CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Doug Lannon.

Chief Lannon says there are many reasons why the house remained in one piece, reasons we should all pay attention to.

The first reason is defensible space. That means keeping fuels away from your home. In addition, Lannon says having brush spaced out is a good idea. The brush on the back hill of the Cajon Pass home was a good 30 feet from the yard.

"There's some patches of brush that we could probably clear the make to make this a little better in a more defensible manner, but right now this isn't bad, this home would be defendable," said Chief Lannon.

Chief Lannon has some tips that could've made the Cajon Pass home even safer. The first is a nearby eucalyptus tree.

"The dead grass that's up above can actually carry the fire into this tree. The limbs and the leaves are actually touching the house from that side. And so what we would want to do is have probably about a 10-foot clearance," said Chief Lannon.

On the back side of the house, there were double-paned windows, which are a good thing. They help keep the fire from igniting something on the inside of the house. However, some of combustible furniture near a home could be a problem. It could go up in flames. Bits of leaves and dry brush around a home could also pose a hazard.

Inside the home, people need to pay attention to wiring. Overloaded extension cords, or cords with something heavy sitting on them, are major fire hazards.

Chief Lannon also says smoke detectors are a must-have.

"They're very important. They give us an early warning when we're sleeping and we have a fire start inside the house. The smoke causes the alarm to go off and gives us the extra minute or two to escape and get our families out," said Chief Lannon.

Chief Lannon says some people have died because they did not have smoke detectors.

For more information:

Ready (Disaster preparedness)
Prepare, plan and stay informed with
Visit the Web site for

FEMA: Are you ready?
An in-depth guide to citizen preparedness by FEMA.
Visit the Web site for FEMA

Red Cross Disaster Services
American Red Cross preparedness information.
Visit the Web site for the American Red Cross


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