A wildfire is burning out of control, and your house is in its path. What do you do?
Most importantly, if you have been ordered to evacuate by authorities, get out immediately. Leave with your family, pets, important papers and whatever portable prized possessions you can quickly pack. Lingering could be fatal.
If no evacuation has been ordered, but you anticipate that one could be in the near future, here are 10 things you can do to make your home safer, according to Cal Fire, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Weather Underground and DisasterSafety.org.
1. Call 911 to inform authorities of your location and the location of the fire.
2. Shut off your house’s gas supply. Move propane tanks at least 100 feet away from the house.
3. Fill sinks and tubs with cold water.
4. Keep doors and windows closed but not locked. Leave the chimney damper open, but cover the fireplace opening with a screen.
5. Turn off air-conditioning. Unplug televisions, small appliances and other electronics, but leave lights on in every room to increase visibility in heavy smoke.
read more at: https://www.sfgate.com/california-wildfires/article/10-things-to-do-if-a-wildfire-is-approaching-your-15511007.php
The future of fire-resistant construction can be seen in the new homes rising from the ashes of the wildfires that have devastated California over the past four years. The materials and techniques that make them more impervious to fire can also be used to retrofit existing houses.
One-stop shop for wildfire Victims: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-10-06/is-rebuilding-in-fire-prone-areas-worth-it-homebound-thinks-so
Finding the weakest spots
To start, says LeCron, “you want to harden the house from the exterior and look for weak links.” Begin at the top with the roof. Roofs made of wood or other combustible materials should be replaced with metal, clay tiles, or non-flammable composite shingles. The same goes for decks and balconies. Attic and foundation vents can suck in burning embers and burn the house down from the inside. Attach fine mesh screens to the vents or swap them for screens coated in materials that expand and seal the vent when exposed to high temperatures. Gutters and roofs should be kept clear of debris and vegetation pruned back at least five feet from the house.
LeCron and partner Karen Arri-LeCron say windows are often overlooked as a significant vulnerability to fire. Building codes may require double or triple-paned tempered glass to withstand fires but don’t specify the material to frame the windows. Commonly used vinyl frames will melt when exposed to high temperatures, causing the window to fall out and exposing a house’s interior to flames. Homeowners should make sure frames are fire-resistant. One option is installing shutters that automatically close when exposed to fire.
Garage doors are another weak link. “They are usually cheap and not fire resistant,” says LeCron. “That’s a big entry point for fires.”
Exterior walls can be retrofitted with fire-resistant stucco or synthetic siding, such as environmentally friendly poly-ash, which is made of polymers and a byproduct from coal burning called fly-ash. “It won’t rot, it won’t burn, and you can work it and nail it like wood,” says Kelly.
read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-15/how-to-make-your-home-more-fire-resistant?srnd=premium
On granny flats, which the city and state call “accessory dwelling units,” parking spaces will no longer be required.
San Diego has been requiring one parking space per new granny flat unless the unit is less than 500 square feet, in a historical area, within a residential parking district, or the granny flat is near a transit line or ride-sharing station.
On the bonus granny flats, property owners are eligible if they agree to make one of the granny flats they build rent-restricted for low-income residents for at least 15 years.
For granny flats within a half-mile of an existing or planned transit line, the number of bonus units is unlimited. For granny flats not near transit lines, a maximum of one bonus unit is allowed.
The rule change for micro housing units builds on 2018 city legislation that allowed developers to double the number of units in a project if they made the units smaller than usual – 400 square feet maximum.
The change approved Tuesday will create additional incentives based on height of the building and distance from the property line. City officials said the change would allow more projects to take advantage of the city’s micro unit incentives.
read more at: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/story/2020-10-13/san-diego-further-loosens-granny-flat-rules-as-part-of-housing-reform-package