The Oregon Garden Develops Nation’s First Fire Safety House
Exhibit highlights fire-resistant construction and landscaping
SILVERTON, Ore. – The Oregon Garden has announced the completion of its Fire Safety House Project, the first full-scale fire prevention and safety house in the nation. An existing home on the grounds of The Oregon Garden has been converted into an exhibit featuring fire-resistant building construction on the exterior, including roofing, siding, windows, doors and vents.
According to The Oregon Garden marketing manager Brittney Hatteberg, “It’s important to educate homeowners on what they can do to protect their homes from fire. The Oregon Garden Fire Safety House illustrates the best fire prevention and safety practices for homeowners, particularly those in the wildland-urban interface.”
The landscaping around the Fire Safety House demonstrates how to enhance the visual appeal of a home while protecting it from an encroaching wildfire. Fire-resistant shrubs and trees planted in appropriate patterns can serve two key functions: prevent ground fire from reaching the structure, and shield it from radiant heat produced by a flame front.
The project was funded through a $600,000 Assistance to Firefighters grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The cost to remodel the home and landscape the property will be paid through additional grants and donations, including from corporate sponsors.
Rural fire departments cover a lot of ground with relatively few resources, so their response time is typically longer than that of a municipal fire department. When a fire occurs, the steps a homeowner has taken in advance to reduce their home’s vulnerability can buy time until firefighters arrive.
The Oregon Garden Fire Safety House was developed by a partnership that includes The Oregon Garden Foundation, the Oregon Dept. of Forestry, the Office of State Fire Marshall, Oregon State University, Moonstone Garden Management, Inc., and FEMA.