Sean Blocksidge is a volunteer firefighter dedicating to building homes less likely to catch on fire.
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/27/2012 -- Sean Blocksidge believes that homeowners become too complacent about maintaining fire-resistance around their homes. He wants to build houses that are more fire resistant because of those complacencies.
As a crew leader and member of the Wallcliffe bushfire brigade for over 10 years, Blocksidge spent two days in Prevelly and Gnarabup fighting fires that destroyed over 30 homes in November of 2011. His new passion is to build a home that will be fire resistant. He feels that people will become relaxed in their preparedness for fire safety as time goes on.
Blocksidge told ABC Southwest Washington “Of course there will be a heightened degree of awareness, but I don’t reckon it will take people too long to go back to living the way that they were. It’s the way people are.”
Blocksidge wants to believe that people will learn from the fires, but he knows that human nature will take over, and as people remodel and redecorate and build. They likely will thus lose sight of what is important in maintaining a fire-resistant house.
During the time of the fires in Prevelly and Gnarabup, Blocksidge and his partner were in the middle of building a home in the middle of the fire zone, in the Kilcarnup area. The experience of fighting fires made them rethink the design of their house and use different, more fire-resistant materials.
Blocksidge stated that even though construction can be done to help make houses more fire-resistant, it is more important about how people live in the houses. For example, fires can spread easily from patio furniture to the deck and roof. During the brigade in Prevelly, he saw all kinds of houses burn to the ground, from commercial steel buildings to brick houses.
Cost is another factor that goes into building fire-resistant homes. Blocksidge says you have to look into what is affordable and what is survivable in the same way. Blocksidge says that clearing out trees from blocks with a lot of buildings would help. However, even with winds that spread wildfires quickly, it’s not safe to stay in any house near a fire.
The incentive to building fire-resistant homes is that people wouldn’t have to rebuild or replace their total property. They can have a piece of mind that they have done all they can to prevent a house fire.
Blocksidge’s main concern is that people take a bit more interest in preparing for house fires during wildfire seasons. Communities and fire brigades need to be more prepared as well, to help the families during the fires. He believes an underprepared community is not fair to the public.
People who live on the bush block aren’t the only ones that need to look at fire readiness. Blocksidge says that those in the suburbs of the regional towns should also be prepared, especially if fires travel their way.
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