can get a visit from this:
and need a visit from these:
Current Fire Suppression Techniques & Their Effect
Blankets have been used for thousands of years to put out fires. They still are. But they're only good for very small fires. There's also an actual fire suppression device called a fire blanket; its main use is in smothering fires on people's clothing or on small in-home fires. But since I've never seen one, I'll assume that they're either obsolete or simply no longer in wide use. Fire extinguisher effectiveness probably surpassed this type of fire blanket technology decades ago.
Planes and helicopters (and, of course, fire trucks) have dumped water and fire-retarding chemicals on fires for decades. Sometimes this stops or slows the fire. But, as CNN so often portrays in the news, often the wind, heat, lightning, bad wildland management, and dryness is enough to keep the fires going for many days despite man's efforts at stopping them. If you examine the Oakland fires, the earthquake-caused fires in L.A. or San Francisco or Japan, what you have are flames out of control and people unprepared to stop them, so they burn until they've done their worst. At the end of each fire, home insurance companies pay huge sums, insurance premiums go up for everyone, along with the devastation, death, destruction, disaster, etc. Although the construction industry can benefit from the opportunities fires open up, most of us hate the danger, misery, and cost of it all (the federal aid that goes to these fires raises the national debt yearly—exactly what the economy needs the least). So fires need to be stopped, especially when people and property are threatened.
Some Fire Statistics
The 1995 World Almanac shows lots of big fires and quakes in the last few decades, so one can easily guess how many smaller fires take out one or more houses or businesses each day in the industrialized world. This Almanac says that in 1992 fire departments in the United States responded to 1,964,500 fires. There were 637,500 structure fires in 1992, of which 472,000 occurred in residences. There were 922,000 "outside property" (not in structures) fires in 1992. Each year 140,000 wildfires occur in the U.S. and 2,300,000 acres of brush and forest are burned. Most of these are extinguished by firefighters when they are less than one acre. Of the 4,730 fire deaths in 1992, 78% were in homes. There were 28,700 fire injuries in 1992, 75.3% of which were in residential properties and 9.5% of which were in nonresidential structural fires. There was $8,295,000,000 in property damage from fires in 1992, of which 84% was structure damage. And 56% of all structural property losses occurred in residential properties. Of all structural fires, 14.7% were from arson.
In 1993, 700 homes were destroyed by fires in southern California alone. And this is even though they had trimmed brush around their houses as a response to the 1991 Oakland fire.
There were over 14,000 fire deaths in residential properties from 1995 through 1998. In these years, there were over 1,600,000 residential fires costing over 16 billion dollars.
In 1999, there were 523,000 structure fires, 74% of which were in homes. There were 3,570 fire deaths, 81% of them in homes. Property damage from fires was over 10 billion dollars—over half of which was residential property.
At the peak of the fire season in Florida in 2000, more than 500 wildfires broke out each day. More than 850 homes were destroyed in 2000, and 7.4 million acres were burned as 92,000 fires broke out, requiring help from our armed forces and even volunteers from other countries. Fire suppression in the United States in 2000 cost over 1.6 billion dollars, which is more than the previous three years combined. (In other words, the problem is getting worse.) The Los Alamos, N.M. fires of 2000 burned up 200 homes and even evacuated the town.In 2001, the worst wildfires in years raged across 13 Western states, leaving 11 people dead and many homeless
One can easily see the trend: as the population grows and forces many people to move to the wildland interface, and as terrorism convinces many others to do likewise to avoid city centers, more and more people—and homes—will be in the path of wildland interface fires, so the statistics can't help but climb.
A Better Method
When you watch (on TV) an Oakland fire take out thousands of
nice, suburban homes and apartments (in 1991, 25 dead, 150 injured, 3,469 dwelling units destroyed, 1,520 acres burned, over one and one half billion dollars in damages) at $100,000 to $1,000,000 a pop per structure, you realize there's a market for anything that can stop this kind of thing. In my opinion, water trucks and aircraft-delivered water and backfires are all helpful. But there is another way: Protect houses from the outside by the use of Fire Blankets. The idea is to prevent wildland fires from igniting at the urban interface. (Current fire fighting methods utilizing fire trucks and sprinkler systems, etc. are still probably the best methods for structure fires which burn from the inside out.) Read on.
Fire insurance is expensive in vulnerable areas and quake insurance is outrageously expensive, and these things do nothing to prevent the problem, so why not pay for prevention rather than restoration in the aftermath? My solution is to save lives, houses, insurance company payouts, and to prevent misery. It's true that we cannot do that much to prevent fires from being started by lightning, campers, faulty wiring, quakes, smokers or jerks, but we can do a lot to see that the nearby structures and people are safe and the fires don't spread too far, at least where homes are concerned. Increasing cleared space around houses would help, but this precaution has very limited application, since the reason people like the wildland interface is because of the natural environment of wild land it provides. This close-to-nature feel all but vanishes if one surrounds one's house with a large cleared area.