Healthy Tips

November 29, 2016

Wildfires: Prevention and Safety

Wildfires: Prevention and Safety

Wildfires are a serious threat to lives and property in the United States.

Due to the combination of drought, warmer temperatures, high winds, and an excess of dried vegetation in forests and grasslands wildfires have become progressively worse over the past 50 years.

Some tips that can help you protect your home and your community include:

Clear Clear pine needles, dead leaves, and anything that can burn from your roof lines, gutters, decks, porches, patios, and along fence lines to make sure falling fire embers will have nothing to burn.

Store Away Remove outdoor furniture made of wicker, furniture cushions, fiber mats/rugs, potted plants, and other decorations from decks, porches, and patios. All of these items can catch fire embers and ignite your home.

Screen and Seal Screen or seal outside openings around your house. Fire embers carried by the wind can get into homes through vents and other openings and burn homes from the inside out.

Rake Rake landscaping mulch to at least five feet away from your house and wooden fences. Fire embers that land in mulch touching your house, deck, or fence is a big fire hazard.

Trim Trim back shrubs or tree branches that come closer than 5 feet to your house. Remove any overhanging branches.

Remove Remove anything from within 30 feet of your house that could burn – woodpiles, spare lumber, vehicles, and boats. Anything that could act as a large fuel source should be removed.

Close If you have to evacuate your home, close all windows, doors, and pet doors. Many homes are destroyed by fire embers that enter these openings and burn the house from the inside out.

If you see a wildfire and haven't received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1. Do not assume that someone else has already called. If you or someone you are with has been burned, call 9-1-1 or seek help immediately; cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.

If you don't have a doctor and would like help finding one, call Healthcare Coordination to make an appointment.

For reliable information on how to take better care of your health or a loved one’s health — or on any health related topic — contact the Health Information Center.  

Staffed by medical librarians and certified health information specialists, the Health Information Center offers an extensive health library, digital and print resources, walk-in assistance, and help with research on specific health conditions — all free of charge and available to the public.

This healthy tip is provided by the Health Information Center at The University of Tennessee Medical Center.