Installing or retrofitting home-hardening features on your home will better prepare yourself and your home for the threat of wildfire. Removing your cedar shake roof and replacing it with a composite material is a great example of a home hardening retrofit that increases your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. However, your garage might be a bit different as many garage doors are made of fire-resistant components. Whether you have a garage door that is made from combustible or non-combustible material, you can still improve its ability to resist wildfires.
Hardening your garage to withstand a wildfire is more about the actions you take before the fire threatens your neighborhood. Some things to consider about your garage to better help your home survive a wildfire include:
- Installing weather stripping around and under the garage door to prevent embers from blowing in during a fire. Embers can fly off of the fire front from several miles away and flying embers are responsible for most wildfire-caused home ignitions.
-Store all combustible and flammable materials away from ignition sources.
-Install the backup battery for your garage opener so it opens should you need to evacuate when the power is out.
-If you do not have a battery back-up practice opening your garage door manually during your routine evacuation rehearsal.
-Have a fire extinguisher and tools such as a flashlight, shovel, rake, and bucket available for fire emergencies in your garage.
-Completely close your garage door and leave it unlocked. Do not leave any air gaps when you evacuate your home. This will protect your home from flying embers.
-If you have to leave a vehicle behind, park the vehicle in the garage facing towards the door. Roll up your windows, place the car keys in the ignition, and leave it unlocked.
More information on hardening your home to survive a wildfire can be found on the Living With Fire website at http://www.livingwithfire.info