While the wildfire season might be a while away from starting, doing a little bit of preparation to protect your home and garage each month can go a long way to protect your property and family when the warmer months do arrive.
When you stay on top of the little jobs throughout the year, from cleaning your gutters regularly, to testing your smoke alarms and practicing your wildfire evacuation plan, you’ll be better equipped in the event of a wildfire in your area.
Merlin has put together some tips for your garage and home wildfire safety preparations that can be easily included in your regular home maintenance routine.
Clean the gutters
Embers are the leading cause of home losses during wildfires in New Zealand, as they can settle in areas around your home where leaves and other windblown material gathers.
It can take just seconds for an ember to ignite organic fuel and spread flames to combustible parts of the roof structure such as wooden boards, rafters, roof battens, and eaves.
Cleaning gutters, drains and downpipes of debris before wildfire season is a smart move that will help to protect your home and surrounding properties.
Test your smoke alarms
According to New Zealand Fire and Emergency, smoke alarm batteries need to be replaced once a year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test them more regularly. Every month, you should test your alarm by pressing the test button for at least five seconds until you hear the beeps.
New Zealand Fire and Emergency Area Commander, David Utumapu, says “Fire is extremely fast and can be deadly within three minutes. Working smoke alarms give you that vital early warning of a fire so you and your family can get out to safety. We recommend smoke alarms in every bedroom, hallway and living area.”
Remember that your alarm won’t last forever, replace it every five years, or earlier if advised by the manufacturer.
Have a wildfire plan that includes the garage
One of the biggest oversights made by homeowners is failing to have an agreed-on Wildfire Survival Plan ready for the family.
According to David, taking the time now to make sure you are prepared with a plan could save you and your loved one’s lives.
“Practice your Wildfire Survival Plan with your family and if you haven’t already made one, you can make one at www.escapemyhouse.co.nz. Your plan should include two exits in case your normal exit is blocked and a safe meeting place.”
Wildfires can also lead to power outages, so it’s important to have a plan in place to manually open your garage door so you can get the family in and out of the garage quickly and safely.
To find the manual release cord on a roller door, look near the motor on the side of the door. It will also be near the motor for sectional and tilt doors, which should be found in the middle of the garage ceiling. Steps to operate your manual release cord can be found here.
Have extra peace of mind by installing Battery Backup to ensure that your garage door opener (and safety features) can operate in the event of a power outage. Battery Backup is compatible with select Merlin garage door openers: the SilentDrive Elite, the Commander Elite and the Commander Extreme and is integrated with the Commander Ultimate garage door opener.
Be safe this wildfire season and make your garage door opener and garden are part of your survival plan.
For more information about your manual release cord or Battery Backup, contact our Customer Service team on 0800 653 667 or visit our website.