Whole Life Magazine

October/November 2019

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/1173846

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Page 7 of 31

8 wholelifetimes.com I f you're anything like me, you've probably never imagined fighting a wildfire to save your home, something I can now say I've done. I fought off the largest and most destructive wildfire in LA history, the Woolsey Fire, to save my home — though my wife did most of the heavy lifting. I mean that literally as she was the one operating the fire hose to spray our house with a fire retardant as flames exploded around us. My son and I followed her orders and when it was all over, our house was one of the few that remained. In a neighborhood of 275 homes, almost 200 burned to the ground. The following is a list of supplies my family had to fight the fire and save our house. It is not intended as a recommendation for anyone else to "stay and defend," which is a serious decision with potentially grave consequences. I was asked to compile this list by the many homeowners who lost their homes. One of the reasons I wrote my book, Malibu Burning: The Real Story Behind LA's Most Devastating Wildfire was to educate others and prevent or mitigate the damage caused by fires that seem to grow worse each year. Items we had: u Portable gas-powered fire pump with extra can of gas u Independent water source (our hot tub) u 150 feet of 1½ line fire hose u Specialized wrench to access the fire hydrant on our street u Plastic fire hose nozzle u Phos-Chek foam flame retardant (Five-gallon jug) u Foam applicator kit with jug to mix fire retardant with water to apply to our home u Walkie-talkies, spare batteries u Transistor radio, spare batteries (News may be hard to come by since the power will be out, likely for many days.) u Heavy boots (though my wife wore flip-flops) u Thick gloves u Basic N95 breathing masks (found in most hardware stores) u Jeans and long-sleeve cotton or wool shirts u Head protection Items we wish we had (and do now): u Brass fire hose nozzle (Plastic can break if dropped.) u Back-up set of fire hoses since hoses can get burn holes from embers u Respirator-type masks (Unlike N95 masks, which are disposable, half-face and full-face respirators offer a tight-fitting, flexible facepiece with replaceable filter cartridges and provide better protection during a fire.) u Headlamp (continued on next page) city of angels Photo: Robert Kerbeck Be Prepared New Album DevaPremalMiten.com available on SURVIVING A WILDFIRE By Robert Kerbeck

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