San Diego Home Info by Gretchen Pagnotta
Rancho Bernardo Residents Pass 4th Year Anniversary of Witch Fire
In October 2007 Rancho Bernardo residents lost 365 homes due to the Witch fire. Poway was affected with the loss of 90 homes and in 2003 Scripps Ranch experienced the loss of 312 homes in the Cedar fire. I had a client who lost everything in the Scripps fire. Thankfully I had taken pictures of their home which were helpful when they dealt with their insurance company in negotiating replacement of their home. It is a reminder at this time of year throughout San Diego that we have to be watchful and prepared as it is not “if” a fire will again sweep through our canyons but “when.” The Santa Ana winds fuel the fires and embers travel up to 3 miles ahead of the fire igniting grasses. The importance of clearing at least 100 feet around structures cannot be over stressed.
Santaluz Residents Forming Interest Groups for Disaster Preparation
Some of our communities have been planned to be “stay in place” areas. The landscaping has been regulated to deter the rapid spread of fire and lessen the chance for residents to be evacuated. Santaluz residents have now formed resident interest groups to plan for major disasters including fires. Communication amoung residents is of vital importance. Some common guidelines in case of fire are the following:
- Shut off gas at the meter. Only a qualified professional can safely turn the gas back on
- Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seal
- Turn off propane tanks
- Place combustible patio furniture inside
- Take down hanging plants and move them away from the house
- Connect garden hose to outside taps. Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above ground fuel tanks. Wet the roof
- Wet or remove shrubs within 15 feet of your residence
- Gather fire tools such as a rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaws, bucket and shovel
- Back your cars into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut the doors and roll up the windows. Leave the key in the ignition and the car doors unlocked. Close garage windows and doors but leave them unlocked. Disconnect automatic garage doors.
- Open fireplace damper, and close fireplace screen.
- Close windows, vents, doors, blinds or other non combustible window coverings and heavy drapes. Remove flammable drapes and curtains.
- Move flammable furniture into the center of the residence away from windows and sliding glass doors.
- Close all interior doors and windows to prevent drafts
- Place valuables that will not be damaged by water in a pool or pond.
- Open your wooden gate and leave it open, so the fire cannot run along your fence to your home.
This time of year take the time to make sure your fire alarms are in working order..replace batteries. Place fire extinguishers in various locations as a general fire safety measure. Make sure your landscaping is under control with extra vegetation removed from your property and away from your home. Discuss your “escape” plan with your family so in the event of a fire when sometimes minutes count you are together in youir plan if evacuation is needed. This should also a plan for pets. It is a good idea to place notices at your homes entry points that state if you have animals in your homes. The thought of my Max (black lab) being in my home if a fire occurred while I was away would break my heart. At least if someone came to the home a notice might insure he was removed.
Santaluz Resident Town Hall Meeting
If you have some other suggestions let me hear from you! For Santaluz Residents come to the SMA Meeting Novemeber 2nd 6:30 for an update on the Disaster Preparedness as well as other subjects. Let’s all be safe and take the time to plan ahead!