(MIAMI, September 8, 2015) - During second week of National Preparedness Month, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue focuses on wildfire safety awareness. Every year, wildfires burn across the U.S., and more and more people are living where wildfires are a real risk. Wildfires often begin unnoticed. These fires are usually triggered by lightning, severe drought conditions or accidental ignition sources. They can spread quickly igniting brush, trees, and homes. They are a threat to life and property that can occur at any time of year. As of August 30, 2015 the State of Florida had recorded 2,099 wildfires this year alone with a total of 67,603 acres burned.
Now is the time to prepare. By working together, residents can make their own property and neighborhoods much safer from wildfire. The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of a fire:
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home.
- Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures
- Regularly clean roof and gutters.
- Use 1/8-inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas, and the home itself. Also, screen openings to floors, roof and attic.
- Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home and in every bedroom; test monthly and change the batteries at least once each year.
- Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it's kept.
- Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
- Keep a ladder that will reach the roof.
- Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes.
- Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space.
For more information on National Preparedness Month and wildfire safety awareness, go to www.ready.gov. Another way to stay informed is by registering with Miami-Dade Alerts. Residents of Miami-Dade County who enroll in this alerting system can receive SMS (text) messages and/or emails providing emergency and public safety information such as weather advisories including tornado and tropical storm/hurricane warnings. To subscribe to Miami-Dade Alerts, please sign up at: http://www.miamidade.gov/alerts. Standard message and data rates apply to text messages sent or received, and other charges may also apply.