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Designing a Wild Home


How to Repair a Burst Pipe

Megan WildDoes the thought of a burst pipe have you cowering in fear and thinking you'll turn into Curly from The Three Stooges? It shouldn't. Yes, a broken pipe is going to cause a bit of a mess. In fact, a huge mess, but that doesn't mean you can’t put on your handyman hat and take care of the situation.

First step: Don't panic.

Second step: Turn off the main water to stop the flow. (It helps to know where the main water line is for your house!)

Once the water has stopped and you've cleaned up whatever flood surrounds the broken pipe, you're ready to get to work. How you'll repair the pipe depends on the nature, size, and location of the fracture.

Here are some examples of how to repair a burst pipe:

A Split-Pipe Fix

A split-pipe is just that — a split-pipe. Think of a peapod breaking open. The perfect way to replace a split-pipe is to use a cut-and-paste coupling. By using pieces of pipe that have already been cut and fitted with a coupling at either end, a coupling allows you to mend the break.

You have to find the right size pipe for your repair. You'll want to leave an inch on either side of the split in order to fit your new pipe piece into the slot — that is the size of the actual pipe replacement you'll need.

Use a hacksaw or tubing cutter to cut out the damaged piece of pipe. Once removed, sand the pipe ends to remove rough edges. Then place the ferrule (or ring) and nut from each end of the replacement coupling onto the ends of the cut pipe.

Slip your pipe piece in between the ends and tighten with a wrench. Turn the water back on and check for leaks. The best thing about this type of replacement is that is can be done without soldering.

A Pinhole Fix

Before the big switch to copper plumbing, galvanized steel pipes were placed in homes. You might be living in one of those galvanized domiciles, which could mean the chances of springing a leak from corrosion increase. Again, there’s an easy fix which starts with shutting off the water, assessing the damage, and heading off to your nearest hardware store.

In the plumbing section of the hardware store, purchase a stainless-steel pipe repair clamp. At home, clear away the rust and accumulated gunk from the pinhole leak. Then open the clamp and slip it onto the pipe. Maneuver the rubber seal around the leak. Pinch the clamp closed, and tighten the bolt that is located between the prongs of the iron lug. Turn on the water and check for leaks.

white pipe
Source: Pexels

Stop a Burst Pipe Before It Bursts

A little preventive maintenance will go a long way toward keeping your pipes from bursting. This is especially true if you live in an area that is prone to freezing temperatures. Make sure your home is shielded from outdoor elements. Properly weather strip your windows and doors, as well as the entry points for your pipes. There shouldn't be any gaps that let in cold air.

If your exposed pipes in your basement lead to the rest of the house, you might consider insulating them for added protection. There are many protective materials available for this purpose. As long as you're insulating, you should consider adding a layer of protection to your water heater. Insulating "blankets" specifically designed for this task are easy to wrap around your tank.

Imagine leaving for a winter vacation, only to return to a flooded home. Avoid this scenario! Before taking your trip, set the thermostat to make sure the house won't dip below 60 degrees, and consider shutting off the main valve. Finally, ask a neighbor or friend to check on your house during your trip.

When to Call the Plumber

Proactive steps can go a long way toward keeping your water flowing, but there could come a time when a call to a professional plumber is required. You might have to call a plumber after you attempt a fix, but there’s nothing to be embarrassed about if the leak persists. Have it handled professionally ASAP, and all will be well.

Best Beginner Tools for the Burgeoning Homesteader

Megan Wild

When you and your family decide to move to the country from the big city or a suburb, you want to be as prepared as possible. Living off-grid saves a lot of money and reduces your carbon footprint in the long term, but the initial investment you make on your land and supplies must be significant enough to reach self-sustainability.

What to Look For In a Homestead Location

When going for the full off-the-grid lifestyle, the first thing to consider will be location, location, location! If you're reading this article, then you've probably already checked out the property you intend to use for your off-the-grid life. But just in case, here's a reminder of the things to check and consider regarding your property:

  • Real Estate: You need enough land for two crucial elements — arable land and grazing pasture.
  • Access: You do not necessarily need to be completely cut off from the outside world, but you'll want a certain amount of privacy from potential poachers and thieves.
  • Water: Whether it's above or below ground, you want to make sure you have a reliable water source available at all times.
  • Soil: Rich soil is essential for the best crop production. Make sure yours is dark and crumbles in your hands.
  • Timber: A depth of woodland has many uses. From a source of building material to a natural boundary for your land, you want to keep a source of natural timber around and growing continually.

Now with the location and natural resources sorted out, we can consider the things you'll need on a daily basis for your self-sustainable lifestyle.

You are going to need tools. This is a given, but there's a difference between a well-established farm and an up-and-coming homestead. Sometimes the simplest tools are the best, while other times an industrial tool can save time and money.

Tools for Your Off-Grid Homestead

Self-sustainability means just that. You cannot go off-grid and then call a repair company anytime things break down. You may not be a professional carpenter or electrician, but if you're going to live off the land, you better learn how to make repairs and manipulate the resources around you.

Without the right tools for the right jobs, your new homesteading life will be a great deal rougher than you may like.

workshop hand tools

Basic Hand Tools

No matter how large or widespread your operation grows, basic repairs, carpentry and woodworking will always be necessary. Whether your brand of choice is Milwaukee, Dewalt, Ridgid, or another brand, make sure to invest in the latest tools. This will pay off down the road in terms of safety, quality, and longevity of your tools.

If you're creating a pen or stable for animals or making repairs to your home and food storage sheds, your hand tools will become some of the most valuable items for you and your family’s well-being.

  • Claw and sledgehammers: Two of the most essential tools used by agriculturalists, the importance of claw and sledgehammers in repairs, demolition and woodworking operations could not be more evident. Sledgehammers typically cost between $25 and $150, while claw hammers range from $10 to $50.
  • Machetes: These tools are excellent for harvesting crops and chopping compost. Machetes are also perfect for managing vegetation, including snedding – a term for removing branches from the central trunk of trees.
  • Shovels: You need sturdy shovels for digging, lifting and moving bulk materials and soil. They're ideal for quick jobs in the field and save you money on gasoline or electricity.
  • Hoe: The hoe is one of the oldest and most versatile agricultural and horticultural hand tools used in the world. You can use it for shaping and clearing soil, removing weeds and harvesting root crops.
  • Post Hole Diggers: A single person can operate a post hole digger, a tool perfect for single-use jobs or delicate locations in your garden. Unlike with a tractor drill, there's no need for gasoline.
  • Wheelbarrows: A wheelbarrow can help you to transport your supplies, tools, building materials, and debris easier and with less strain on your body.

Basic Industrial Tools

For the harder work needs of your farm or ranch, you'll need more "horsepower" to handle the work. Thankfully an off-the-grid life does not mean using only medieval-style tools. Machines and heavy equipment are available options:

  • Chainsaws: When it comes to winter wood collection, swift landscaping, and clearing fallen trees or timber after a storm, chainsaws are the perfect tools.
  • Table Saw: You'll want a good table saw for woodworking, including those larger building projects and repairs that crop up from time to time.
  • Tractors: Anyone who understands farming knows how vital tractors are. These machines have become synonymous with agriculture and work perfectly for pulling or pushing agricultural machinery or trailers. They also work well for plowing, tilling, disking, harrowing, and planting.
  • Utility Trailer: Also known as a farm trailer, utility trailers are perfect for transporting large items and livestock around the farm. After all, you cannot fit everything into your wheelbarrow.
  • ATV or UTV: Essentially taking the place of a horse, keeping an off-road vehicle such as an ATV or UTV can help with daily mobility around your property. Also, with the proper attachment, these vehicles can clear roadways and trails as well as handle small-scale tractor needs.

Protection & Firearms

It may not have occurred to you initially, but retreating from civilized society means facing danger in a new way.

Citizens of the countryside will quickly realize the necessity of owning and operating a firearm. For new gun owners, it's important to understand that it's a tool like any other. While I won't provide a specific list of firearms here, there’s plenty of information out there on the subject.

More important than the type of gun you choose will be the mindset in which you use it. Once you've decided on owning a gun, remember its purpose – to protect crops and livestock, protect your family and people, and to put food on your table.

Ultimately the tools you keep on hand will determine your homestead's overall productivity and longevity. Make sure you anticipate the needs of your property, crops, and livestock because self-sustainability connects all of these elements directly to the welfare of you and your family.

What You Should Know Before Inviting the Public to Your Farm

Megan WildChoosing to open your farm to the public can yield great results — it encourages people to learn how farm work.

You can also give first-hand information, promote the farming industry and potentially make some extra money.

It doesn't matter if you're looking into a small farm store or full-on agrotourism, plenty of risks come with it. The public doesn't step foot on your farm with a handbook full of potential risks — you have to do that thinking for them. The common sense parts of your life won't come first-hand to them, so you'll want to take steps to keep everyone safe.

barn
Source: Pexels

Make Guest Safety Priority Number One

When having guests on your property, absolutely nothing tops their safety. When people come, they will depend on staff to control certain aspects of farm life for viewing purposes — think animals appropriately contained and safety measures in place. You can't stop human error or abject stupidity, but you can limit the damage those two things can amount to.

At some point, you will have a guest who tries to climb a fence into a bullpen, or the wrong gate left open. Have a reaction plan set and make sure all precautions were set in place beforehand. Schedule walkthroughs into your daily routine, as time allows, and train tour guides to look for things that may appear off. Create a checklist of all the safety protocols on the farm and use it regularly.

Kids are especially prone to unfortunate accidents. If you have small family members, take them around for a tour before you open and see what they get into. They're almost guaranteed to find things you missed and make them a danger zone.

Decide What Is Off Limits

Some places on your farm should not allow guests. You should likely keep your home and skittish animals out of sight to avoid any mishaps. Depending on how your farm is set up, have a few pastures that visitors can't see. Keep animals that are close to birth out of the way, and always keep newborns out of the hands of inexperienced people.

Provide handwashing and sanitizer stations if you have areas where guests can interact with animals. Figuring out how to reduce the biosecurity risk is vital to keeping your herds safe. Additionally, some people won't know if they're allergic until it's too late, which can create a larger issue out of something seemingly harmless. You could involve hand washing as part of your tour, post any animal encounters, and use it to explain basic hygiene practices on the farm.

Set Up Bathrooms

You can't get around it — you will need bathrooms. Unless you want guests to behave similarly to your livestock, you will absolutely need bathrooms. They don't have to remain open at all times but should include an option for kids, elderly and emergencies. If selling anything, various laws regard bathroom availability as well. You will have to check your state's policies, but any business serving food is required to have bathrooms accessible to its customers.

Position Employees Strategically

Employees should remain easily identifiable either by a uniform, nametag or fancy hats. You want them placed in areas where they can be useful, both to guests and to you. Farm work never ceases, but you will also want staff members focused on guests during their time on the property.

country
Source: Pexels

Provide Good Lighting and Clear Paths

Obstacles might have become a part of your daily routine on the farm, but what you step over, a visitor might trip over. Consider the possibility of guests bringing strollers or wheelchairs and take seeing impaired guests into thought, for example. These are relatively simple things to adjust. Place good, bright lights in dim areas, have rules in place to encourage guests to leave before dusk, and provide clear, wide paths without weeds to make the overall experience better for guests. It will also take a load off your mind, because the clearer the paths, the less likely someone will wander into a questionable area.

Print Off the Rules

In a group setting, it can be hard to reach the entire group when presenting rules and regulations. If you tell a group the rules ten times, someone will still not hear it, especially people distracted by small children, ringing phones or the excitement of being there. For every section of the farm open to the public, have the rules listed and in clear view. This will also help anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing since they won't have to rely on an employee speaking clearly while looking in their direction. It can be hard to make the words out otherwise.

Is Your Farm Ready for Visitors?

Having visitors to your farm is a fantastic way to help people learn, add to your community and create an atmosphere of joy and friendship. But it also involves some risk. Learn the risks, minimize them and your farm will remain a hit in your community!


Sources:

http://agritourism.rutgers.edu/pdfs/Agritourism%20General%20Farm%20Safety%20Checklist.pdf

https://extension.psu.edu/biosecurity-risk-assessment-farm-visitors-and-exhibitions

https://onepointpartitions.com/rules-regulations-public-restrooms/

What You Need to Know Before Building a Farm Structure

Megan Wild 

What You Need to Know Before Building a Farm Structure

As E.A. Fowler, an agricultural engineer, wrote over 100 years ago, “Farm buildings are the farmer’s factory.” Therefore there is no more important component to a farm’s productivity than an adequate structure. While farm structures have been slow to evolve — largely because of the capital risk involved — the growing informational network means we know a lot more now than we did then.

There was a dramatic increase in farm productivity in the 20th century, largely due to steady advancements in technology and research, and improved effectiveness and efficiency of farm structures was part of this development. However, high capital costs still mean no decision to build a farm structure should be taken lightly. We have highlighted some key decisions farmers and homesteaders should consider when planning a new build.

What Is Its Purpose?

What is the reason for your new build? Is it geared toward improving animal welfare, facilitating a new enterprise, boosting returns or simply for the benefit of an additional building? Once you’ve confirmed this, strategically think about how long you need it for and how much flexibility will be demanded from it.

This will determine how resilient it should be, where it should be situated, how much should be invested in it, and the preferable building style and materials used to build it.

pexels-photo-259857

Source: Pexels

What About the Future?

Is your building to store more grain or to shelter growing numbers of livestock? The general purpose will dictate size and other specifications, so take a long-term view on it. It may be cheaper to overspec now than to build again in five years if you expect an expansion.

Longevity comes in to play particularly around material specification. For example, wooden timber frame will suit a temporary structure whereas a steel structure will last far longer. Perhaps sacrificing short-term material savings will allow your building to be more flexible and resilient in the future.

Foundation Choices

You have a range of options for your structure when it comes to types of concrete foundation, including concrete pillars, monolithic or conventional. Luckily, laying a foundation should be relatively easy given today’s innovations — concrete pumps, for example, allow the most efficient and cost-effective options for placing concrete. A boom pump can navigate your farm to the decided pour-site, making transportation of heavy buckets and even crane usage unnecessary.

The Lay of the Land

Building a barn is exciting, but it’s also stressful — especially if you’ve never built one before. One consideration that is particularly costly if missed is land layout.

Sloping land, drainage and prevailing weather are key features in determining where to build your new structure. Water obviously needs to drain away from your structure and open stall runs need to face away from any wind. Furthermore, south-facing property will allow sun exposure to stave off any potential rot from areas used for livestock or grain storage.

pexels-photo-55656

Source: Pexels

Ventilation Consideration

Laurel Bishop, national sales assistant for a farm-building designer, asserts that “ventilation is one of the most critical considerations of barn design.” It’s important to avoid the buildup of ammonia in the air from feces and urine.

Once again, depending on the structure’s use, ensure ventilation is present for livestock by way of large openings, mechanical ventilation or natural ventilation.

Natural Light Trumps All Else

Siting for light will cut down on electricity bills and make your life easier. Optimum natural light is from the north, so where possible, locate your build with access to such light without shading from trees, slopes or other structures. Furthermore, extend the light consideration to your architecture through skylights to make best use of lighting. Use bright paint on the interiors to best reflect any natural light.

Access Your Assets

The general effectiveness of your structure and its positive impact on your farm or homestead comes down to the practicality of its location. There should be convenient access from your home to the structure, with a distance of about 75 feet.

What About Zoning?

Do you know the zoning requirements for your area? Even small invasions of zoning boundaries could put your entire build in jeopardy. On local land, restrictions known as development codes can dictate where you are and aren’t allowed to build. Certain design requirements may be on setbacks from property lines or access by emergency vehicles.

Project Management

Project management is one of the most important elements of barn or farm building construction, so consider the following tips:

• Plan ahead according to a set timescale
• Use drawings and other tools to help visualize the aim and facilitate quotes
• Be diligent about seeking the correct approvals prior to building
• Don’t diverge too far from your budget

Building a new farm structure is an exciting and substantial decision. If you take the necessary precautions, you will be adding a considerable revenue-enabling asset to your homestead or farm.

How to Protect Against Road Salt

Megan Wild 

If you work in the farming industry, winter usually isn’t your busiest season. In spite of this, your equipment might still be at risk of corrosion due to road salt and grime that accumulates during the colder months. What can you do to protect your equipment from the corrosion caused by road salt?  What steps should you take during the colder months to ensure your equipment continues to function efficiently throughout the year?

tractor-2507503_640

Source: Pexels

Store Your Equipment Properly

Unused equipment is still at risk for wintertime corrosion. You can prevent this, or at least postpone it by storing your equipment properly.

Provide a climate- and humidity-controlled indoor location to store your equipment during the off-season. This could be a barn or other enclosed building that is equipped with dehumidifiers or air conditioning that removes the humidity from the air. This dry, climate-controlled environment takes away the one thing that is necessary for salt corrosion — water.

Controllers and other electronic equipment are also at risk in humid environments, so creating a dry storage area allows you to protect your equipment even when it is not in use.

Wash and Dry Your Equipment After Each Use

If you are using your equipment during the winter months and you live and work in an area where snow and ice are common, chances are your equipment has been exposed to road salt. At the end of the day, take the time to wash off and dry your equipment to remove any salt that has accumulated. Pay special attention to the undercarriage of your equipment and any plow equipment you may use during the colder months. Salt and salty grime can easily make their way up into the undercarriage and cause damage if they’re not washed away.

For work vehicles and other equipment with enclosed cabins or painted exteriors, it might also be a good idea to look into wax or ceramic coatings for your equipment. They aren’t a perfect solution to protect against road salt, but they can help to keep the salt off your equipment long enough that you can wash it off before it starts to cause damage.

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Source: Pexels

Invest in Corrosion-Resistant Materials

Utilizing corrosion-resistant materials can help to reduce the overall effect of corrosion and road salt by keeping the corrosive materials from reaching the corrosion-prone metal parts. These materials will vary depending on the individual application but can include:

Oil or grease — This is a temporary form of corrosion protection, but it can be easily reapplied. It works as a form of protection for moving parts that might not be able to be shielded with other surface protectants.

Paint — When applied to clean surfaces, paint can help to prevent corrosion, but it’s not always the most durable option. Impacts to the painted surface can create chips and scratches that can leave the uncovered spots vulnerable to corrosion.

Powder coating — Powder coating refers to coating the surface of the equipment with a durable powder that is then cured under heat to create a corrosion-resistant skin. Some of the advantages include its resistance to corrosion, durability, and high-quality finish that looks good in addition to being functional.

If it is an option, you can also look into choosing equipment that is made from naturally corrosion-resistant materials such as:

• Galvanized steel
• Aluminum
• Titanium
• Stainless steel
• Fiberglass

These materials may need a higher initial investment, but they don’t require the same sort of maintenance or inspection that standard materials require. If you spend a lot of time working on salted roads, either as part of your farm or homestead or as a snowplow during the winter months, it might be a good idea to invest in the higher-quality materials initially.

There is no way to avoid exposing your equipment to road salt if you take it out during the winter months. The best thing you can do is take steps to protect your investment from the corrosion caused by road salt, either by washing it regularly, coating it with anti-corrosion materials, or reinvesting in new equipment that is made from naturally corrosion-resistant metals. You don’t need to stop working because winter has arrived, but you do need to protect your investment — and using anti-corrosion materials is a good way to do that.

Fresh Beginnings: What to Know Before Homesteading in 2018

Megan Wild 

For many, the word “homesteading” conjures up images of covered wagons heading west to claim the land provided to them by the U.S. government. It was Abraham Lincoln who signed the Homestead Act in the 1860s, encouraging Americans to move west with the promise of free land, 160 acres they could use as their home and their business.

Today’s homesteaders do not receive titles to their land from the president, of course — the West has since been well populated. But they do envision a fruitful life led tilling the land, wherever their farms may be — and you’re hoping to join their ranks.

There are so many benefits that come with homesteading. A life led on the land is certainly a rewarding one, and many before you have done it successfully. Still, there’s a lot that goes into making your decision to homestead, and there are some major factors to consider before you take the plunge into modern-day pioneering. Here are five of them.

Survey the Land

Becoming a homesteader means you’ll live off the land. As such, you’ll want to look at property with a critical eye to ensure you can turn your homestead into a successful farm for produce and livestock.

For most homesteads, the minimum amount of land you’d need to raise crops and animals would be a half-acre, but a bit larger would give everyone more room to breathe. Your lot should also include sources of water if you hope to live entirely off of the land. A well and a stream, for example, would provide hydration to your family and your farm.

homestead

Build a Simpler Home

The extravagant McMansions of yesterday and the tech-laden homes of today won’t suit a homesteading lifestyle. This isn’t to say that you can’t have the comforts of electricity, Netflix and smartphones, but you should make your home as small as possible for easy maintenance.

No matter what kind of home you envision, it’s important to build it wisely. Just because you plan to live more simply doesn’t mean you should, for example, try your hand at constructing one of your own. Instead, do your best to avoid the common pitfalls of home construction, and you’ll have a solid structure that will require minimal upkeep over the years.

This thoughtful construction should apply to any other farming structures you’ll need, too. Depending on your budget, you may not be able to invest in all of the livestock you’d like to keep on your property, for example. However, you shouldn’t build a barn just for the chickens you can afford now if you plan to have a cow and a goat someday, too. By giving yourself a little wiggle room, you’ll save money on future construction.

Plant Your Produce Wisely

Unless you’re already a green thumb, planting fruits and vegetables on your homestead can be a daunting task. So, you’ll want to study up on the basics of cultivating and harvesting produce so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor as soon as possible.

One rule of thumb is to focus on planting annuals first. These trees and plants need careful planting and attentive care if they’re to grow back year after year. So, take your time and sow each seed in the perfect spot. Once they’re showing signs of growth, you can add perennials, which are typically easier to grow.

If you haven’t cared for livestock before, you should brush up on this area of your homesteading responsibilities, too. This will come in handy when you decide how much property and barn space you’ll need for all your animals. It’ll also help you come up with a homesteading budget, another vital element of your step into the simple life.

vegetables

Meet the Neighbors

Most homesteads are situated next door to other homesteads. They may not be properties you can see or even walk to, but knowing you have a homesteading community around you is one of the biggest comforts when you embark on your new land-based lifestyle.

Before you buy your homestead, try and meet at least one of your neighbors. Find out how the land has treated them to make sure it’ll be good to you, too. Once you’ve moved in, you can turn to your neighbors for advice and a helping hand. They’ll know what it’s like for a homesteader just starting out — it’s safe to assume they were beginners at one time, too.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

Finally, your first experiences with homesteading will not be easy. It’s going to be a transition from a “normal” 9-to-5 lifestyle to one led on the land. If you find yourself frustrated, confused or otherwise apprehensive about your decision, don’t let those negative thoughts overcome you. Instead, focus on all the good you’re doing for yourself and your family. With time, you’ll master your homestead and live the simpler life you want for 2018 and beyond.

Fire Safety In a Rural Area: How to Prepare

Megan Wild 

Once an isolated incident, wildfires advancing into rural and metropolitan areas are now a regular occurrence in the state of California. The latest wildfires devastating California have caused nearly $1 billion in property damage. Over 7,000 homes and buildings have already been destroyed, and the number is expected to rise as crews continue to work in areas ruined by fires that have killed at least 40 citizens.

While firefighters and other first responders remain the first line of defense against these natural disasters, the intensity and longevity of these fires have resulted in additional safety measures requiring attention. For some residents, the wildfires are so intense that evacuating the area is the only way to ensure their safety and the safety of their families.

Causes for Wildfires in Rural Areas

Fires in rural areas are caused by different situations than non-rural areas. Dry and brittle landscapes are already environmental danger zones, add in the threat of heat and you have one of the leading causes of residential structure fires in rural areas. In fact, over 30 percent of rural residential fires are started from malfunctioning heating devices.

Household elements such as fireplaces and stovepipes that have not been properly maintained are major causes of rural fire incidents. This unfortunate trend requires people who live in these types of areas to re-educate themselves on preventive measures against accidental fires. Ensuring that people know how to maintain their household equipment will go a long way in fire prevention, which in turn helps protect against the rising occurrence of wildfires in rural areas.

firefighters

Overall Preparation

One of the first things to do to prepare for any emergency, let alone wildfire emergencies, includes creating an emergency supply kit and evacuation plan. Whether you live on your own or with a group, you should have immediate access to various necessities you can grab at a moment’s notice. Things like bottled water, emergency rations, batteries and chargers, maps of the surrounding area, and two-way radios are some of the things to keep stocked.

These initial preparations will serve you well regardless of the disaster you’re faced with. Pairing your kit with an evacuation plan focused on safely escaping the danger area will allow you and your group to remain clear-headed during the situation. Panic can be as dangerous and deadly as any external threat.

Emergency Options

While you want to avoid being trapped in an unfavorable situation, especially in regards to wildfire disasters, there are a few options to consider if you’re backed against the wall. For instance, a local river or dam can serve as a viable last resort option if you’re cut off from evacuation. In fact, with proper maintenance beforehand, even a residential pool can save your life or the lives of your loved ones until rescue arrives.

For several years, it’s been recommended for homeowners to prevent fire damage by wetting their home and surrounding foliage with available pool water. In the case of wildfires, if there are no available fire hydrants, then your (or a neighbor’s) pool is the next best thing.

Specific Measures

Fires, just as earthquake events, are especially dangerous because of the domino effect they can set off. Most rural areas are either full of flammable elements such as plants or trees, or wide open spaces that allow for ample air currents to flow and feed the flames. In fact, the true threat of fire disasters in rural areas will come from the additional threats that the event triggers and less from the actual flames.

If you’re faced with such a situation, you’ll want to keep yourself covered to protect your body from radiant heat. The smoke in the air can travel for miles and build up in the atmosphere, creating a hazardous environment for citizens with asthma or other medical issues — which makes a face/breathing mask a valuable item. For homesteaders and farmers, your livestock will suffer from these same threats so you should have a plan to protect and evacuate your animals as well.

Overall Issues and Goals

In the end, it all comes down to how quickly the threat can be extinguished. The longer a wildfire burns, the greater the damage. Homes in rural areas are more likely to be situated farther from emergency services than non-rural homes. Also, the lower the population, the greater chance a small brush fire can grow into a larger threat as it will go unnoticed for a longer amount of time.

It’s important to keep an eye on your surroundings. Know the signs to look for, have a route mapped out and commit it to memory. Also, have an emergency pack ready and available and do not procrastinate — if you’re given the order to evacuate, do so. Things taken by fire can be replaced, lives less so.







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