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Fire preparedness

HoLeChit

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So next month we will be buying a house, hopefully selling the old one, and moving out a little more towards the country. The place we are moving to has a volunteer fire department a mile and a half away, otherwise we 2 full time, out of district fire departments 5 and 7 miles away. I feel it’s safe to say that if there’s a fire, we’re on our own.

This has me thinking… what can I do about it? We’ll have 10 acres, 2 sides of that land are along main roads. We have adequate defensible space around the house. I can’t recall any nearby fire hydrants. We’ll be collecting rainwater in ISO tanks at the high point of the land, allowing for gravity feed to where we need it. We’ll also have an electric well with 3 regular yard hydrants around the yard. We have a small pond (maybe 1/4 acre) that I’ll be expanding at some point to about 1/2-3/4 acre.

Here’s my thoughts so far:

Cut down the dozens of cedars on the property
Clean up underbrush and unnecessary garbage plants
Keep yard around house healthy, watered, and of reasonable length.
Keep ditches along right of ways cut and healthy
?????

What else? I was considering making a skid that I could put on a trailer and tow with my tractor or truck with a water tank, hose reel, and water pump. I could siphon off the pond to refil if needed, and it would be useful to wet down the ditches, pasture, wherever if things are real dry. I doubt I’ll be dumb enough to go try and fight a cigarette started grass fire or anything, but maybe?

What’s it like volunteering at a fire station? Is it worth it? Will I be able to learn anything useful? What’s it like? I have a lot of work/life/etc going on and volunteering doesn’t sound like something I want to do, but ya never know.
 
The majority of Oklahoma is served by volunteer fire departments. Just like anything else, some are better than others. Overall, the majority of VFD’s do a great job so I wouldn’t worry about it much. I’d suggest contacting your insurance agent and ask them to find out the ISO classification for the VFD that servers your area. It’ll be a number somewhere between 1 and 10. One is the best and ten is the worst. The underwriting company of your home owners insurance policy will definitely know the ISO classification because it factors into the cost of your insurance.

Maintaining your property like what you said is always a good idea. It not only helps with reducing the risk of a fire, but it also has other benefits as well like reducing the number of rodents on your property. As far as having personal fire fighting equipment, it’s not a bad idea, but I don’t know if I’d sink a lot of money into it. You mentioned not seeing fire hydrants, but have you looked for stand pipes around you? A lot of rural water districts will put in stand pipes in various locations for tanker trucks to fill up with water.

Being a member of a VFD can be pretty demanding, but it can also be very rewarding. The majority of VFD’s do offer certified training courses. I’d suggest talking to the chief and finding out more information. It’s always a good idea to get to know some of the guys/girls in the department. I donate annually to all of the VFD’s in my area.
 
In rural areas power frequently goes out during fires. Your well pump may or may not work during a fire. So a pump with an above ground water source (like you mentioned), or a generator backup to power your well, is a good idea.
 
The majority of Oklahoma is served by volunteer fire departments. Just like anything else, some are better than others. Overall, the majority of VFD’s do a great job so I wouldn’t worry about it much. I’d suggest contacting your insurance agent and ask them to find out the ISO classification for the VFD that servers your area. It’ll be a number somewhere between 1 and 10. One is the best and ten is the worst. The underwriting company of your home owners insurance policy will definitely know the ISO classification because it factors into the cost of your insurance.

Maintaining your property like what you said is always a good idea. It not only helps with reducing the risk of a fire, but it also has other benefits as well like reducing the number of rodents on your property. As far as having personal fire fighting equipment, it’s not a bad idea, but I don’t know if I’d sink a lot of money into it. You mentioned not seeing fire hydrants, but have you looked for stand pipes around you? A lot of rural water districts will put in stand pipes in various locations for tanker trucks to fill up with water.

Being a member of a VFD can be pretty demanding, but it can also be very rewarding. The majority of VFD’s do offer certified training courses. I’d suggest talking to the chief and finding out more information. It’s always a good idea to get to know some of the guys/girls in the department. I donate annually to all of the VFD’s in my area.
We’re rated at a 9, and have a wildfire risk rated at a 7 on the same kinda scale. The VFD used to be maintained and pid for by the county, but a few years back the county stopped that, and ended up pulling funding. From there local officials failed to get the department established as a full time department, nor did they get their act together enough to have a title 19 department, which would have been funded by ad valorem taxes. So now it’s a subscription based title 18 volunteer department.

I think they have a maintenance/ meeting night every Thursday, which makes me feel a little better, as I can go ask questions, and that they know how to get to the station. I’ve seen VFDs that look like the doors are rusted shut.
 
In rural areas power frequently goes out during fires. Your well pump may or may not work during a fire. So a pump with an above ground water source (like you mentioned), or a generator backup to power your well, is a good idea.
I have a generator that I intend on keeping in the garage, and eventually I would like to have enough solar/batteries to at least run the well and some lights if needed.
 
We’re rated at a 9, and have a wildfire risk rated at a 7 on the same kinda scale. The VFD used to be maintained and pid for by the county, but a few years back the county stopped that, and ended up pulling funding. From there local officials failed to get the department established as a full time department, nor did they get their act together enough to have a title 19 department, which would have been funded by ad valorem taxes. So now it’s a subscription based title 18 volunteer department.

I think they have a maintenance/ meeting night every Thursday, which makes me feel a little better, as I can go ask questions, and that they know how to get to the station. I’ve seen VFDs that look like the doors are rusted shut.
Ok, I withdraw my statement about not investing in fire fighting equipment. Sounds like the area isn’t invested in a top tier VFD which would cause me to have some concerns.
 
I spent a few years on a volunteer FD but we also had 3 paid full time drivers that worked 24/48. They drove the #1 truck to the fire then the volunteers would bring additional trucks as needed. When the city expanded to 9 drivers so there were 3 per shift, I went full time for a couple years. It was rewarding, but the pay sucked. I finally had to move to the big city to earn a good living.
I listen to the local FD on the scanner and even after all these years, when they get called out my heart rate rises and I wish I was with them. Then I look at the thermometer that says it's 99 or 19 degs. and the feeling passes quickly. If you are in reasonably good shape and have the time, I highly recommend you get involved with the volunteer FD where you will be. You'll make some great friends and who knows, you might even save someone's life.
 
Closest firehouse/dept to me is near 8 miles, no volunteer fd for miles, iirc nearest one is like 10 miles away.

been many a house and/or barn/shed fire in the area,

Been four within 1/2 mile of my property in last ten years,

by time brush jumpers & firetrucks arrive the houses/buildings are beyond saving,

the fd hose'm down and keep flames from spreading to the fields/brush.

I keep my grass mowed short from house to property line,

I have no ponds nearby or I'd have one of the 2" gas powered pumps,

got to reley on the well & hoses and the tractor when brush fires are coming, close the valve on the propane tank jic,

Like posted, electric can go off during brush fires, due to overloads at substations from everyone using water hoses to spray yards and houses and/or the telephone poles burning down or someone crashing their vehicle into them & knocking down,

I got the generator to hook to the electric going to the pump if power goes out.
 
I’d read up on qualifications for ISO ratings. I bet an above ground storage tank lowers the rating, as does a simple fire protection system for the house. If you happen to have a rural water line passing along the road, you could attempt to pay for a hydrant to be added. The cost may be offset pretty quickly by the savings in insurance - I put in my own rural water line once and instead of an end clean out I requested a small hydrant, and they agreed. When the insurance inspector came out he said having it on the property was a big savings for me.

Edited to clarify, I put the line in since I was at the end of the service line, but they came out once I was done and installed the meter and hydrant. Because of this the hydrant upgrade was free, as was the mile of line addition since I provided the labor. I’m guessing from what you said that you are on a private well, but thought it might be worth investigating. For a private well with no nearby rural water, an above ground storage tank is likely your best alternative
 
For a private well with no nearby rural water, an above ground storage tank is likely your best alternative
A lot of people around my area have above ground pools in the yard fairly close to the house.

Most probably don't have a gas powered pump to use if needed though.

When my kids were young I bought a 20' x 4' for them so they wouldn't stroll over to the lake and jump in,

I even bought one for my parents place, since the lake is approx 60yards (giveortake depending on rainfall) from the front porch and they like we all did would go jump in and swim without telling anyone.

Course kids grow & leave and I didn't maintain the pool and liner failed.

Hell I replaced liners in both pools few times in 10 years or so for rips & tears too big to patch, because you will patch them a lot.
 
A lot of people around my area have above ground pools in the yard fairly close to the house.

Most probably don't have a gas powered pump to use if needed though.

When my kids were young I bought a 20' x 4' for them so they wouldn't stroll over to the lake and jump in,

I even bought one for my parents place, since the lake is approx 60yards (giveortake depending on rainfall) from the front porch and they like we all did would go jump in and swim without telling anyone.

Course kids grow & leave and I didn't maintain the pool and liner failed.

Hell I replaced liners in both pools few times in 10 years or so for rips & tears too big to patch, because you will patch them a lot.
A pool works great, I’m just not sure if insurance recognizes it as a water source.
 
A pool works great, I’m just not sure if insurance recognizes it as a water source.
Probably don't,

but then it doesn't matter if they do or don't if your property's on fire,

Are you going to let your house to burn to the ground while you wait for the firetrucks to show up?

Or are you going to grab your gas powered pump & throw the suction hose into the pool to hose down your house/property with 5k to 10k gallons of pool water & hope a tanker truck shows up before you pump the pool dry?
 
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