Living in a tinderbox in one of the most beautiful places on earth causes one to wonder if I’m crazy for living on 2-acres at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Rather than run (to where?), I’ve made it my mission to make my neighborhood of almost 200 homes more fire safe by organizing and applying to become a Firewise USA recognized community.
I hosted a well-attended event with over 15 speakers to discuss clever and innovative ways that we can mitigate wildfire. Supervisor Manu Koenig spoke about what he’s doing to improve our roads and support Firewise neighbors. Central Fire Deputy Marshal Marco Mack discussed his proposal to get reflective address and road signs up so EMS and firefighters can find us and why everyone should sign up for CODE-Red, and Tony Akin, Central Fire, shared tips on home hardening, evacuation, and sheltering in place.
Then we had experts talk about using ham and MURS radio communication when our power goes out. Others talked about CERT, Go Bags, and limbing up and trimming trees. Having these enthusiastic members of nonprofit organizations sharing their tips and encouraging our neighbors to get involved created a powerful message: We can do something to reduce our fire risk.
My community wanted to know about fire-retardant paint and other products so I invited vendors to talk about the best vents (Vulcan Vents), paints (Firefree), services (Safer Building Solutions), and fire insurance and Wildfire Defense Systems (State Farm). Guests talked to these vendors about their individual concerns for hours after the event.
I invited 2 of my students to share their solutions for keeping their homes safe. Arul Mathur introduced F.A.C.E. (Fire Activated Canister Extinguisher) and Anush Anand discussed how vinyl gutters and siding are flammable.
Check out the video to learn more.