Our Neighbors in the Santa Monica Mountains
We all live with some degree of concern about the possibility of a natural disaster in our backyards. There is something we can do to reduce the danger, and it is being done. You ought to know about it.
Arson Watch Protects You From Disaster
The community Arson Watch was formed to prevent wild fire by activating lookout volunteers during "red flag" conditions. Working under the supervision of the Sheriff's Department, many of your neighbors use their own vehicles on their own time to patrol the area. The volunteers use their own or donated FM radios to quickly communicate with other volunteers at base stations, who relay the information to the appropriate fire and law enforcement authorities.
The Community Arson Watch has also participated in earthquake relief drills and is preparing to assist the community in any major disaster by relaying information to the emergency service personnel regarding road conditions and structural damage. We will soon receive first aid training, including CPR.
Clearly, Arson Watch can make the difference between a minor incident and a major conflagration; it can make the difference between safety and disaster between life and death for you, your family, your pets, and your friends.
To Continue Its Work, Arson Watch Needs Your Support
The Community Arson Watch needs to purchase additional FM-type communication radios that operate on reserved frequencies. These radios are expensive, and we cannot ask the volunteers who already donate their time and vehicles to purchase radios costing as much as $800 each. That is why we need your help now.
To Help the Arson Watch attain its goals of updating communication equipment and providing first aid training, we have formed a separate non-profit fund raising corporation, Friends of the Arson Watch and Disaster Services, Inc., or FAWDS. It has been suggested that if each household contributes just $10 and each business $25 or more, our need will be met.
Thank you in advance for your tax-deductible contribution.
FAWDS, PO Box 197, Topanga, CA 90290.
Phone: 310 455-4244
Fire Threatens Your Home
Close all doors and windows. Remember the garage, basement and attic. Closing inside doors slows room to room fire travel through a structure.
Connect garden hoses and leave them where they will be seen. DO NOT LET THE WATER RUN. This reduces pressure that could be needed by fireman.
Fill one or more large rubbish can with water and keep them at opposite ends of your house.
Place gunnysacks or throw rugs with the cans to be used for putting out spot fires later when there may be no water pressure.
Roll up all auto windows. Put convertible cars in the garage or remove them from the area. If a car is left in the open, place it where it will not obstruct fire equipment. Place valuable papers and documents where safe or in the car, and always have the car heading out.
Remove leaves from roofs, rain gutters and alongside structures and combustible fences. Fire can smolder in leaves for two to three hours and than erupt it into flame.
Leave lights on in the house and elsewhere through the night and during evacuation. This makes your house easier to find in the dark or in the smoke.
Place combustible garden furniture and pads in garage or house. Get them away from the outside of any structure.
Lower and close venetian blinds and non-combustible drapes. This may create a minor fire barrier if a window shatters due to heat.
Remove combustible window curtains and other combustibles from window area, outside walls or other fire accessible areas.
Remove any combustibles from proximity to butane or propane tanks. Turn off the tank when fire approaches, or when you leave the area.
Screen attic and ground vents and seal them when fire threatens.
Consider tearing down and removing combustible object that can expose adjacent structures to fire threat (vegetation, fences, woodpiles, light patio structure etc.).
As a rule, do not use water systems or garden hose to protect structure until the fire is approaching and about 600 feet away. Than wet down shingle roofs, wood decks etc. There is little value in wetting brush, trees, fire-resistant roofs plaster, bricks etc. before the fire passes. Uncontrolled fire use could result in a water shortage in critical fire areas.
Wear proper clothing for maximum protection. Long pants, shirts, shoes, hat, gloves, and goggles are recommended. Avoid synthetics and do not wet yourself down since this increases danger of scalding.
When the fire hits, keep the family together in a safe place, preferably in the house. It is usually safer in the average residence than to flee uphill from a sweeping brush fire. After the fire has passed, go outside and extinguish any spot fires on the roof and around the exterior of your house. Use a shovel and dirt if water is unavailable. Remember to stay with your home two to three hours after the fire to put out smoldering which may erupt into flame.
Remember: Close all windows and doors, don't waste water and keep calm.
Friends of the
Arson Watch and
Disaster Services, Inc