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Important fire prevention tips

Create defensible space, have a plan

Post Date:07/20/2018 3:57 pm

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With Williamson County’s Emergency Burn Ban having gone into effect this afternoon, the Cedar Park Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management are offering the community tips for how to prevent wildfires and make homes and yards fire-safe, and what to do in the event of an emergency.    

“A few weeks ago we had a football field-sized grass fire that was caused from sparks from a lawn mower,” Cedar Park Fire Chief James Mallinger said.  “During these hot, dry conditions any uncontrolled spark can cause a fire.  It’s up to each resident to do his or her part to prevent this from happening.”  

Chief Mallinger says that with this Emergency Burn Ban in place, he is also ordering the closure again of all public grills located in Cedar Park’s City-owned parks.   Parks patrons are welcome to bring their own gas grills.  

The City reminds everyone to help make their homes and yards fire-safe with the following tips:  
• Create defensible space.  Defensible space is the required space between a structure and the wildland area.   
    o Clear dead leaves, grass and debris from gutters, decks, porches, patios and along fence lines. 
    o Store away furniture cushions, rattan mats, potted plants and other decorations from decks, porches and patios.  
    o Screen and seal vents and other openings where windborne embers can enter and burn a home from the inside, out.
    o Rake out landscaping mulch.  Embers landing in mulch that touches your house, deck or fence is a big ire hazard.    
    o Trim shrubs and tree branches that come closer than five feet to the house or other building.  Remove any overhanging branches. 
    o Remove anything within 30 feet of your home that could burn.  This includes woodpiles, spare lumber, vehicles and boats.  They could act as a large fuel source.
    o Close your home.  If you are ordered to evacuate make sure all windows and doors are closed tightly and seal any pet doors.  Windborne burning embers can enter these areas and burn the house from the inside, out.  

In addition, Emergency Management Coordinator John Cummins says being prepared is key.  

“Proper preparedness helps lower the stress level, if an event were to happen.  If you and your family are prepared, it means that you all know what to do, when to do it and can react quickly.”

Cummins offers the following advice:  

• Go Early. Have a Plan.  Make a Kit.  Stay Informed. 
     o Go Early.  In the event of a fire, it’s important to leave early to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion.  Don’t wait to be told by authorities to leave.  In an intense wildfire they may not have time to knock on every door.  If you’re advised to leave, don’t hesitate. 
     o Have a Plan.  In the event of an emergency, it’s important that you and your have a plan about how you would all get in contact with one another, where you would meet if you are all not together at first and where you all would go.  Take time to discuss your plan now with your family. 
     o Make a Kit.  It’s important to have a ready-to-grab-and-go-kit of emergency supplies you’d take in the event of a fire or any emergency.  Your kit should contain your family’s important documents and photos, medicines, glasses and contacts, infant supplies, non-perishable food and a can opener, water and more. 
     o Stay Informed.  It’s important to stay aware of the latest updates by following local news media.  You can also find may free apps such as one from the National Weather Service, which may provide important information.   You should also be sure to sign up for CPAlertMe, part of the Warn Central Texas network.  CPAlertMe is a free service provided by the City of Cedar Park to send you official warnings, updates and other important emergency information via text message, phone call and/or e-mail message.  Sign up today at www.CPAlertMe.com.   

For more important safety information visit www.cedarparkprepares.com.  

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