by Douglas Kent, best selling author and professor
Most places where fire strikes once are prone to more fires so their landscapes should be rebuilt with certain goals, such as being inviting and accommodating to emergency responders-our health and wellbeing depend on it.
Driveways, pathways and shading structures can be designed and maintained to provide much of this needed security. Driveways invite and welcome emergency personnel, pathways accommodate their hasty work, and shade structures protect-not endanger-them. Below are the essential elements of each.
During a conflagration emergency personnel have to decide, and sometimes in a matter of seconds, which homes are the best use of their equipment, time and lives. The driveway is their first impression. A good driveway will safely lead emergency personnel to a home or business. An effective driveway will have these characteristics:
• Address - The property's address is posted at the driveway's entrance.
• Visibility - The house is visible from the driveway's entrance, so the fire fighters know what they are rushing in to.
• Width - The width of the driveway is no less than 8 feet, 10 feet is better, with a cross slope of 2%.
• Proximity - The driveway is as close as possible to the home or structure.
Whether fleeing or fighting, rapid travel is essential. Garden paths are a critical component of emergency mobilization. Pathways should be readily identifiable and easily navigated. The key characteristics of a good path are:
As seen in LC/DBM magazine, October 2019.