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Author: Whitney Rosen

How to Prepare and Evacuate for a Wildfire

evacuate for a wildfire

Prevention

No matter where you live, you may be at risk for wildfires. Several steps can be taken to ensure you are prepared for the unexpected circumstance of a fire while safely evacuating your family from your home. One of the simplest ways for minimizing or preventing wildfire damage to your property is known as fire mitigation.

The most effective strategy to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire is by creating defensible space around your property. It is recommended that you create two defensible space zones; a 30 foot and 100 foot zone, within this area you can take steps to reduce potential exposure to flames and radiant heat. Each zone will create a buffer between structures on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland surrounding it.

Homes built in pine forests should have a minimum safety zone of 100 feet. If your home sits on a steep slope, standard protective measures may not suffice. Contact your local fire department or forestry office for additional information. 

wildfire preparedness week

Whether you live in a fire zone or live in the city it is important to have defensible space around your home. Along with defensible space it is also important to consider the following to protect your property and home:

Property Checklist

  • Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs, and clear out all flammable vegetation
  • Remove leaves and rubbish from under structures
  • Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns, and remove limbs within 15 feet of the ground
  • Remove dead branches that extend over the roof
  • Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet
  • Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines
  • Remove vines from the walls of the home
  • Mow grass regularly
  • Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and the barbecue
  • Place a screen over the barbecue grill—use non flammable material with mesh no coarser than one quarter inch
  • Regularly dispose of newspapers and rubbish at an approved site and follow local burning regulations
  • Place stove, fireplace and grill ashes in a metal bucket, soak in water for 2 days; then bury the cold ashes in mineral soil
  • Store gasoline, oily rags and other flammable materials in approved safety cans, and place the cans in a safe location away from the base of buildings
  • Stack firewood at least 100 feet away and uphill from your home, and clear combustible material within 20 feet
  • Use only wood-burning devices evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
  • Review your homeowner's insurance policy and also prepare/update a list of your home's contents

Prevention Checklist

  • Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind: select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it.
  • Use fire-resistant or noncombustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling, or treat wood or combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking or trim with fire-retardant chemicals.
  • Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees (for example, hardwood trees are less flammable than pine, evergreen, eucalyptus or fir trees)
  • Regularly clean roof and gutters.
  • Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year. Keep the dampers in good working order. Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Standard 211.
  • Use 1/8-inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas and the home itself. Also, screen openings to floors, roof and attic
  • Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test monthly and change the batteries at least once each year
  • Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it's kept
  • Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel
  • Keep a ladder that will reach the roof
  • Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes
  • Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space
  • Identify and maintain an adequate outside water source such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool or hydrant
  • Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property
  • Install freeze-proof exterior water outlets on at least two sides of the home and near other structures on the property. Install additional outlets at least 50 feet from the home.
  • Consider obtaining a portable gasoline powered pump in case electrical power is cut off

Preparation

Before a wildfire it is crucial to protect your home and prepare for evacuations. If you live in an area under threat by wildfire, pay attention to official channels for evacuation orders. Make sure every member of your family has a bag packed with essential items to last you multiple days away from home. Along with each members disaster supply kit, make sure you have a family emergency plan and a means of transportation standing by. 

wildfire evacuation preparedness
  • A 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day) and food that won’t spoil
  • A 3-day supply of water and food for each pet in your household
  • One change of clothing and footwear per person
  • One sleeping bag or blanket per person
  • A first aid kit that includes your family’s prescription medications
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries
  • An extra set of car keys, credit card, cash, or travelers checks
  • Sanitary & hygiene supplies
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members
  • An extra pair of eyeglasses

Once you have each kit packed, maintain them on a yearly basis by replacing expired items and rethinking the necessary contents. Food and cans should be packed and kept in cool, dry places. Keeping emergency kits at home, in your car and at work are all good ideas since you never know where you’ll be when you need to evacuate.

Evacuation

Depending on your evacuation orders, an immediate evacuation of your home may be necessary. If there are evacuations in your area you should monitor local radio and news stations. Be prepared to leave at any time and if asked to evacuate, do so.  If you have time prior to evacuating the following four steps will aid in protecting your home and assisting fire fighters in their efforts. 

  1. Keep all doors and windows closed in your home.
  2. Remove flammable drapes, curtains, awnings or other window coverings.
  3. Keep lights on to aid visibility in case smoke fills the house.
  4. If sufficient water is available, turn sprinklers on to wet the roof and any water-proof valuables.
wildfire evacuation
Along with these items it is important to have an evacuation plan prepared that you and your family members are all familiar with. The checklist below will help your family  create the right plan. Each family’s plan will be different, depending on a variety of issues, needs, and situations. Create an evacuation plan that includes:
  • A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area.
  • Several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
  • Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
  • Family Communication Plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.

The 6 P's

In the event of a quick evacuation, remember the 6 P’s! By having these items prepared ahead of time, you can grab them on a moments notice and evacuate safely. 

  1. People & pets
  2. Papers, phone numbers, & important documents
  3. Prescriptions, vitamins, and eye glasses
  4. Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
  5. Personal computer, hard drives, and disks
  6. “Plastic” (Credit Cards, ATM Cards, and Cash)

Prevention is Key

Every year across the U.S., major wildfires test homeowners and firefighters, some homes survive while many others do not. Those that survive almost always do so because their owners had prepared for the eventuality of fire, which is an inescapable force of nature in fire-prone woodland areas. Another way we think of it as, if it’s predictable, it’s preventable!

The best way to protect your home and family during a wildfire is by adding prevention and preparation into your routine. There is a lot of steps to take to be prepared but they can make the difference between saving your home and potentially your life. 

BME Recap of 2018, What’s to Come in 2019

2018 was a year of record growth for Boise Mobile Equipment. New facilities, multi-million dollar bids, production increase and 40 new employees is driving us into 2019 with big goals and the tools to achieve them. Our main focus for 2019 is to hit 100% capacity at each of our manufacturing facilities. Before we look to the future, we’d like to take a quick look back at BME in 2018. 

2018

In the past year BME was awarded bids from California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, multiple municipal departments and county fire departments throughout the United States. Receiving these awards increased other departments’ interest in BME allowing us to showcase our wildland fire truck stature. 

Winning the U.S. Forest Service bid for Type 3, Type 3 Heavy, and Type 4’s  was truly a highlight of the year. This particular bid was 3 times higher than the average bid for USFS, allowing us to increase our capacity and deliver the first 28 trucks early. 

Innovation and redesign was a focus of BME in 2018. We were able to innovate the USFS water tenders to have better roll over protection with a custom manufactured cab protector. Along with the tender innovation we redesigned the USFS Type 4’s to provide better occupant protection while in transit. 

This year we established our place in the wildland firefighting community and will continue to improve, innovate, and support with our above industry standard wildland apparatus. 

2019

The theme of 2018 was growth in every aspect of the company, so what’s in store for BME in 2019? We have BIG plans, involving custom trucks, a company launch, further innovation, efficiency and hitting 100% capacity! Here is a quick look at how our new facility will help get us to where we need to go. 

Aside from hitting our production goals, here are a few additional items to keep an eye out for in 2019 from BME: 

  • First 34 CAL FIRE trucks will be in the field end of January ‘19
  • Extended bodies on USFS Type 4 delivery end of February ‘19
  • Introducing our new Xtreme (on International GMC chassis)
  • Building 4,000 gallon pumps for CA Dept of Corrections
  • SLIDEOUT up & running with focus on fire compartments

Local Manufacturer Brings Jobs to Boise

bme is moving
local manufacturer brings jobs to boise


Career Opportunities

Interested in joining the team at Boise Mobile Equipment? Boise Mobile Equipment consists of two fire apparatus manufacturing facilities in Boise, Idaho. Combined, the facilities employ individuals specializing in auto body, welding, fabrication, electrical, sales and support. We are seeking employees who would be proud to build life-saving equipment and become involved with a great company. Please visit our Career Opportunities page for more information or send an email to inquire about openings to employment@bmefire.com

BME Safety Innovations for USFS Water Tenders

USFS Water Tenders

Safety is a critical aspect when designing any apparatus that will be operating in the urban wildland interface. Although some rigs have seating in the rear, the cab of the truck is where firefighters will spend most of their time when responding to incidents. It’s natural that many of the safety features added to protect them will be on the chassis. The initial structural change was made on the USFS Water Tenders to increase safety and durability. 

Rollovers, collapsing tree branches, and rough terrain are just a few of the scenarios Boise Mobile Equipment (BME) takes into consideration when innovating the design of our fire apparatus. There are a myriad of safety elements incorporated into today’s apparatus to protect firefighters on the line; the most recent innovation was our 4”x4” steel tubing cab protectors and tubular body construction.

Protective Shell for Safety

These fire bodies are MIG and TIG Welded Aluminum, Galveneal, or Stainless Steel.  We start the process with 2”x3” tubing to form the body skeleton and wrap it with 12 gauge Stainless, Galveneal, or 3/16th inch Aluminum. The bodies are built with this type of construction to add safety for firefighting personnel, as well as durability. On our existing Type 3 Engines and our new Type 4 and Tactical Tenders, we have elevated the tube behind the cab to add a layer of rollover protection to our vehicles.  

BME added the very first set of 4”x4” steel tubing cab protectors to the USFS Water Tenders. The water tenders have low bodies and were unprotected during rollovers prior to adding the rack. Each piece was manufactured, welded, and assembled at our West Morris Hill location in Boise, ID. The new USFS trucks (Type 3, Type 3 Heavy and Type 4) will have BME’s signature Type 3 tubular construction. These bodies will protect from both steep grade rolling and high speed freeway crashes.

Triangulated points (gussets) are added both to the cab protectors and steel frame for increased strength and to reduce crushing points. We put emphasis on strength with triple passed welds, beveled joints and grade 8 hardware used to secure the rack to the chassis. Lastly, rubber body mounts are used to eliminate vibration when on rough terrain or traveling at high speeds. 

USFS firetruck headache racks

A Safe Build Cannot Outperform Training

We are proud to serve the fire industry with our wildland apparatus; ultimately, our goal is to design an engine that will get firefighters home safely every time. There is no quick-fix or cure all for roll-over accidents, but with adequate training the likelihood of an accident is reduced. Extensive training for both station and volunteer firefighters is critical in avoiding these tragic incidents in the future. 

Firefighters have enough to focus on while they are doing their job and they don’t have time to question if their truck will work. We build our fire trucks “the BME way” which means tubular bodies, stainless steel plumbing, and heavy duty doors. Our clients know they are getting the best wildland trucks on the market and a great team behind them. We have built thousands of wildland trucks and collaborated with some of the best wildland firefighters, municipalities, and government agencies to build the best apparatus in the industry. We know what works and what it takes to get the job done. 

Custom Builds

BME builds custom fire apparatus to meet your departments needs and constantly innovating to fulfil obligations. We don’t just offer option A or B, but work with each customer to understand their specific needs. Through a collaborative effort, we recommend or create a design that will exceed your expectations. Whether you are a small department, large municipality, or a federal contract, you are important to BME and will never be a just a number.

Sedona Fire District Purchases a Model 34 BME Fire Apparatus

cal fire wildland trucks

Sedona Fire District recently purchased a Model 34 (Cal Fire Spec) from BME through HGAC. At this time we are offering our Cal Fire Spec at an affordable price with Tag-On Opportunities for California Departments and through HGAC for any out-of-California departments wanting this truck. Below is an article published by the Sedona Red Rock News about the acquisition of this BME Fire Apparatus.

“It’s like getting a really great Christmas gift — but one that you have to wait until the following Christmas to open.

By a unanimous vote, the Sedona Fire District Governing Board on Aug. 14 approved the purchase of a new Type 3 fire engine in the amount of $313,405.57. However, delivery of the new truck would be 10 to 12 months from the signing of the contract.

“It’s an apparatus that will carry us for a long, long time,” Chairman Dave Soto said. “It’s definitely a work horse.”

According to a staff report, the district plans for timely replacement of fire apparatus and sets aside funding for the ordering and purchasing of vehicles. The current Type 3, which is assigned to Station 4 in Uptown, has been taken out of service and is due for replacement. The engine being replaced is a 1999 E-One Type 3 four-wheel-drive with 78,100 miles and more than 3,700 engine hours.

The truck was originally purchased in February 1999 for $188,525 with a planned service life of 15 years and was the Oak Creek Canyon fire engine staffed by the canyon volunteers. Fire Chief Kris Kazian said this vehicle has been bumped down in the priority replacement list for several years in the capital replacement plan. Due to the continued and increasing costs of maintenance for this vehicle, it has been taken out of service and is recommended for removal from the SFD fleet, he said.

“We’re replacing a 1999 unit, so it’s run its course,” Kazian said. “It’s see a lot of miles and been a lot of places.”

The report states that failure to buy this replacement vehicle leaves the district without a four-wheel drive Type 3 engine used for both in and outside district wildland fires and may see on average a decrease in the range of $50,000 to $60,000 per year paid to SFD when its assistance is requested. As an off-district Type 3 engine, it has generated in excess of $273,000 of revenue over the the past three years combined.

The manufacturer, Boise Mobile Equipment, has a joint purchasing agreement with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. This allows other jurisdictions to purchase from the CAL FIRE purchase order contract through the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The HGAC is a nationwide, government procurement service awarded through public competitive procurement process compliant with state statues.

Sedona Fire Battalion Chief Dave Cochrane said he’s not sure how must SFD will save by going this route but that the pricing for the new fire engine being requested is at a significant savings over trying to purchase this truck as an individual agency.

“We’ve come to the point where we can no longer kick the can down the road,” Cochrane said in terms of the engine’s need. Cochrane said the Type 3 engine holds about 500 gallons and being that it is four-wheel drive, is most often used in wildland and forest fires, especially those being battled in California.

SFD has a second Type 3 engine, but it is two-wheel drive and will stay local. A Type 6 engine, which is much smaller and pays less in terms of a daily rental by other agencies, is out of state with a Sedona crew.”

Santa Fe Springs Custom Dual Function Light Rescue

paramedic response unit

Santa Fe Springs came to us with a unique request for a dual function squad unit; this concept is different than most of our trucks but we were able to completely customize this vehicle to meet the customers needs. This rescue unit was designed to be used for environmental incidents and medical rescues. Built on a Dodge 3500 with a Cummins 350 HP Diesel engine, this unit is functional and efficient.

This unit will be used for hazardous situations a few times a month. It will also be called out to investigations, inspections and follow-ups. Santa Fe Spring’s previous environmental response unit lacked protection of hazardous waste materials during transport, installing a ROM Roll-Up Door was a the solution. The bullet lined bed of the truck is designed to safely carry 55 gallon drums. The back of this unit also features a swing-out sampling system with test tubes, clean-up kits, spill kits, and an in-cab refrigerator to keep samples cool on the way to the lab.

Although this truck is primarily used for environmental response, it was important for Santa Fe Springs to have the dual functionality of a rescue as well. This rig is equipped with Code 3 running equipment, ability to transmit out, and a hearing system outfitted for paramedic use. This vehicle has 6 compartments in the body with roll up doors, LED strip lighting, adjustable shelves, and dual slide outs for easy access to equipment.

ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS & FEATURES

2017 Dodge Ram® 3500, SLT, 4x2, Single Rear Wheel

52 Gallon Fuel Tank

ROM Roll-Up Door

Dual Slides

6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel

Whelen Light Package

Code-3 Running Equipment

Adjustable Shelves

Air Compressor

Swing Out Sampling System w/Test Tubes

Monitor Equipment Station

Refrigerator for Sample Transport

Technical Reference Station

Bullet Lined Platform

Chassis – 2017 Dodge Ram 3500, SLT, 4×2, single rear wheel.

While this may not work for your department, it might be worth it for you to consider building a smaller vehicle for your department. In any case, when designing your new vehicle, take into consideration what the vehicle will be used for and plan for the future. Boise Mobile Equipment will work with your department to design an apparatus to meet your communities needs. For inquiries on this unit or another feel free to contact us at sales@bmefire.com or (208) 338-1444.

BME Receives 3 Separate Awards from USFS

USFS fire trucks

In the month of September, Boise Mobile Equipment (BME) has received three separate awards totaling over $15 million for production of firefighting apparatuses for the United States Forest Service (USFS). BME will produce 60 wildland engines for the USFS with an option for a 25% increase.

On the order? Type 3’s, Type 3 Heavy, and Type 4’s; which will be ready for delivery in 2019. These wildland fire trucks will be delivered to multiple locations across 10 western states.

Boise Mobile Equipment is a fire truck manufacturer located in Boise, Idaho who has been servicing the nation’s fire, police, and emergency response professionals since 1990. BME fire apparatuses are manufactured to perform in rough terrain and extreme firefighting conditions. BME is dedicated to providing departments with custom design options, superior craftsmanship, and rugged durability. BME offers various types of emergency vehicles including pumpers, tenders, rescues, Wildland Type 3’s, 4’s and 6’s, and a variety of command vehicles. In addition, BME provides equipment and services to law enforcement with its command vehicles, complete up-fitting, and K-9 units.

Aside from its work with US Forest Service, BME has manufactured fire apparatus for CAL FIRE, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS) and multiple municipal and county fire departments throughout the United States.

Interested in purchasing a BME wildland apparatus? Feel free to email us at sales@bmefire.com or visit our wildland page for more information!

Boise Mobile Equipment Apparatus Doors Featured in Firehouse Magazine

apparatus doors

We are proud of the doors we build on our fire apparatus and were recently featured in a Firehouse Magazine article explaining why. Below are some highlights on Larry Segreto’s conversation with Ed Ballam about Boise Mobile Equipments doors.

“Boise Mobile Equipment (BME) an apparatus builder in Boise, ID, with a specialty in wildland apparatus, sells more rigs with form and welded cabinet doors, bucking an industry trend.

Larry Segreto, vice president of BME, said that most of his customers work in very dusty environments and they prefer form welded doors because of the conditions.

“They want doors that work,” Segreto said. “Not to throw stones, but they don’t seem to want roll-up doors.”

Additionally Segreto said BME is “extremely proud” of its doors. He said the company uses aluminum structural tubing for the frame and uses aluminum stress skins on front and back with sheet foam sandwiched between. They also use piano-style hinges with oversized pins to reduce play and wear, Segreto said. “There’s less room for dirt that way,” he added.

As a testimony to the strength of BME doors, Segreto said he once had a customer leave the overhead doors of his apparatus inadvertently open and the doors ended up cutting off five palm trees before being noticed. “Our doors are constructed that heavy,” Segreto said, adding the final door assembly is about two inches thick.

Because of the dusty conditions in which his customers work, BME dovetails the doors into the body and uses a neoprene bulb seal to keep the dust out of the compartments.

“The strength of the door jamb is just as important as the door,” Segreto said. “We want solid framing to the door and we do know that flimsy bodies mean a lot of flex and a lot of popped doors and we don’t want that.”

To read the entire article by Firehouse Magazine please click here.

CAL FIRE Type 3 Wildland Update

Cal Fire Wildland Firetrucks

In August of 2017, Boise Mobile Equipment (BME) was awarded roughly $10 million to produce over thirty Type 3 wildland firefighting apparatuses for the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, better known as CAL FIRE. Since the initial contract CAL FIRE has now ordered 60 Wildland Type 3 trucks from BME. Here is a brief look inside our production timeline:

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Escalon Put’s Xtreme Type 6 Brush Truck to Work

Xtreme type 6 brush truck

The very first Xtreme Aggressive Type 6 ever built by Boise Mobile Equipment (BME), was recently added to the Escalon Fire Departments fleet. The Xtreme Type 6 pushes the ability of Quick Attack for emergency vehicles. BME wanted to create a custom manufactured brush truck that could exceed the capabilities of current trucks on the market. This brush truck was being used as a demo unit prior to being purchased by Escalon Fire Department. This brush truck was put into service on July 30 and utilized the same day on a grass and brush fire in Escalon.

The Xtreme 6 recently made an appearance in the Escalon Times along with firefighters Connor Coker and Ron Gur. Escalon Fire Chief Rick Mello commented on the departments new truck saying, “Essentially it carries 300 gallons of water and has a smaller capacity pump; it is built for wildland firefighting, it’s able to get to areas that are not accessible to larger engines. It carries hand tools, it has a portable pump so we can get water on site … it gives us a few more options.” Read the entire article here on the Escalon Times website.

We believe the Xtreme Type 6 is a great example of BME’s passion to build fire trucks that are ‘go anywhere’ vehicles. For more information, photo’s, specs and engineering behind this Aggresive truck visit our Wildland Xtreme 6 Page. Ready to add an Xtreme 6 to your department or having question? We can be reached at sales@bmefire.com or by phone at (208) 338-1444. 

 

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