Tips for preventing wildfires and how to protect lives and property when they occur

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Knowledge about fire prevention and safety can save lives and property. On the other side, lack of knowledge about fire prevention and safety can cost lives and property.

In the wake of multiple days of burn bans, brushing up on how to safely and legally burn material, preparing one’s property for possible wildfires and having a plan for what to do when a fire is near by can all be smart and even life-saving steps taken. Doing so can be especially important when fire crews aren’t able to put a fire out quickly.

“With the humidity really low and the winds high and with all the rain we’ve had, the vegetation has really taken off and grown,” Jared Barnes, the fire supervisor for Pottawatomie County, said. “So if we get something out of control and (with) these high winds, it’s going to be tough to get shut down.”

A few fire safety and prevention tips include:

  • Maintain an area of about 100 ft. between the house and flammable material
  • Keep gutters clean
  • Keep grass short and vegetation cleaned up
  • Burn trash inside a barrel with a screen on top of it
  • Have plan for how to escape both your house and property in the event of a grass or brush fire
  • Maintain a bag containing essential materials, such as important documents, money, flashlights, car keys, phone chargers, etc.

Another step that can be taken to help ensure safety in the event of a fire is installing smoke alarms and having the batteries replaced every six months. Barnes recommends doing so when time changes occur as an easy way to remember.

Residents of Pottawatomie County who need smoke alarms installed can do so by contacting the county’s health department.

“Pottawatomie County, we’re spread quite a ways and we have multiple fire departments,” Barnes said. “So they (the health department) can make sure that the right department or station gets that smoke detector and gets it installed for folks.”

A resource available to anyone wanting to further look into what they can do prepare not just their property, but also livestock, is the Kansas Wildland Fire Action Plan. This resource, which was put together by the Kansas Forest Service, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and Kansas State University, can be accessed at pottcounty.org.

Residents of Pottawatomie County can also access burn permits at pottcounty.org. Burning trash does not require a permit in Pottawatomie County.

 

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