Fire Safety Tips

Fire Safety Tips

This is a collection of tips and information about keeping you and your family fire safe! Please visit the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) at for more information.

Call the EPVFD for additional information about specific topics at 970-577-0900.



Fire Safety Topics:

Home Protection

In a major wildfire, it may be impossible for the fire department to provide enough resources to protect your home. If you have time, you may want to take the following steps to protect your home.

Place combustible items 50 feet from the structure- including lawn furniture, umbrellas and tarps.

Close or cover outside attic, eaves and basement vents. This reduces the possibility of sparks blowing into hidden areas of the house. Close all shutters.

Connect a garden hose to an outside faucet so it can reach any part of the house.

Place a ladder against the roof of the house opposite the approaching fire.

Shut off gas at the meter or propane tank.

Park your car in the garage, facing out. Close the windows, but do not lock the doors.

Close the garage door, but leave unlocked. Disconnect the automatic garage door opener.

Close all windows and doors, but do not lock them.

Close all doors inside the house to block circulation of air and minimize movement of fire.

Turn on all exterior lights. This will make the home more visible in heavy smoke or at night.

Take down lightweight curtains and close heavy weight drapes. Move overstuffed furniture away from windows and glass doors. These may ignite though radiant heat.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are available from the EPVFD at no charge. Smoke alarms have been proven to save lives! Are your batteries good? Test them every month.


Choose a FireWise location. Evaluate the building site. Choose a site away from heavily vegetated areas. Build on the most level part of the land. Avoid natural chimneys, or draws in the terrain. Set your structure back from any ridge or cliff a minimum of 30 feet; increase that distance if the home is more than one story.

Provide easy access for emergency vehicles. A steep, narrow, winding driveway can impede access for larger emergency vehicles.

Clearly post your address, using numbers that contrast with their background so fire fighters and EMS personnel can find you quickly in any emergency. 

Ensure address is visible from both directions and keep brush and trees cut back so that the address stands out.

Create and maintain a FireWise environment around your home.Create a defensible space around your home and structures on your property. This does not mean that your landscape has to be barren. Defensible space is an area either man-made or natural where the vegetation is modified and maintained to slow the rate and intensity of an advancing wildfire. It also creates an area for fire suppression operations to occur and helps protect the forest from becoming involved should a structure fire occur.

Design and Build FireWise structures. When wildfire strikes, a structure’s roof is the greatest weakness. Using class A or B roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles, slate or clay tile, or metal- will reduce the danger.

Use construction materials that are fire resistive or non-combustible whenever possible.

Minimize the size and number of windows on the side of the house that will most likely be exposed to a wildfire, typically the downhill side.

Multi-pane glass provides more protection from radiant heat than single pane glass. Tempered glass should be used for picture windows, sliding doors and other large glass areas.

Walls should be constructed with fire resistive materials from the ground up to he roof overhang.

Locate propane tanks either on the downhill side or on the same contour as the structure (propane gas is heavier than air and seeks lower ground).

Use a minimum Class III flame spread siding material. Stone, brick and stucco are best.

Cover exterior attic, soffit and under floor vents with ¼” wire mesh to prevent sparks from entering your home.

Keep areas under decks vegetation free by using a fabric weed barrier.

When wildfire occurs. If you see a wildfire, dial 911. Don’t ever assume that someone else has already reported the fire. Describe the location of the fire, speak slowly and clearly, and answer any questions asked by the dispatcher.

If a fire occurs near your home. When a wildfire threatens your home or is in the area that you live, listen to local radio for bulletins from the local fire department- including evacuation advisories. If your home becomes threatened, you may be contacted by a fire or law enforcement official and advised to evacuate.

Wear protective clothing. This includes a long sleeved shirt or jacket, pants and sturdy shoes. Use a handkerchief to provide minimal protection for your lungs from the smoke and hot gasses.

Ensure your family’s safety. If you are able, locate and evacuate your pets, but do not jeopardize your own life. If you have livestock, let them loose by opening gates and cutting fence.

Know where safe areas are within your subdivision. Contact the fire department for assistance in determining safe areas. Typically meadows, rock outcrops and roads may provide safe areas.

If time allows, take a disaster kit containing drinking water, change of clothes for each family member, blanket or sl4eeping bag for each person and first aid kit including prescription medications, emergency tools, including radio & flashlight, and extra set of car keys and credit cards or cash.

Know all emergency escape routes and have pre-planned travel route. Don’t panic. Drive slowly and safely - turn on headlights for better visibility in smoky conditions.


When choosing a sitter for your child, never assume that he or she knows everything they need to know about babysitting.

Get references. Treat sitting as a legitimate business and check out references.

Test your sitter. Pose several "What if..." questions.

Write down information. Where you will be and when you plan to return. Include names and telephone numbers of the family or place that you will be at. Leave a pager number if you have one, with specific details about how to use the number. Write everything down - in a crisis, the babysitter may 'go blank' with all of the new information.

Contact the sitter right away if your plans change.

Walk though your home with the sitter to identify bedrooms, diaper supplies, bathrooms, etc.

Explain how doors and windows open, lock or unlock. Instruct the sitter to keep them locked.

Review your home fire escape plan. Explain where the exits are, and identify the safe meeting place outside of the home, that your children should be familiar with. Point out a trusted neighbor that would help in an emergency.

Make a 'Sitter List' that includes the following information:

Your names - Your Children's Names - Your address and Telephone Number
Emergency Phone Numbers (FIre - Police - EMS) - Family - Doctor - Nearby Relatives
Where to find: House Keys - Emergency Money - Fire Extinguishers - Gas/Water Shutoff - Fuse Box - Flashlight - Thermostat - Mop, Broom and Rags - First-Aid
Rules of The House. Explain your expectations about visiting friends, phone use and off limits food, television or stereo use.

Eliminate unnecessary tasks like cooking, cleaning or baths. These tasks may take the sitters attention away form the children and may be dangerous.

Inform the sitter about pet behavior and feeding schedules.

House Numbers

We can’t help you if we can’t find you! When you call 911, you have an emergency and need help fast. The Estes Valley Fire Protection District wants you to help fire fighters find your address quickly by installing reflective house numbers that are 4 inches high on posts, stake or tree trunk at the entrance of your driveway that can be seen from the road in both directions. Make sure that the numbers are not obstructed by branches, flowers or ornaments and can be seen clearly all year round.

Appropriately sized reflective house numbers can be purchased through Smith Signs. Call Kent Smith with Smith Signs at 970-586-4546 if you have any questions about this program.

Emergencies happen any time day or night. Police, ambulance crew and firefighters need to get to your home quickly to help you, your family, friends or guests quickly. It is important to do your part to help them find your home. See if you can find your house number from the street after dark. 

Chief Dorman states that 84% of all fatal fires burn for at least 10 minutes before the fire department is notified. It takes approximately 3-4 minutes for the smoke to become thick enough for the smoke detector to activate and sound the alarm. Then it takes the residents a couple of minutes to react to the alarm and get out of the home and call 911 from a safe place. Unfortunately, sometimes the residents didn’t react as the smoke detector‘s alarm failed to sound. Other times people were overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning. Clearly posted house numbers can make a difference in an emergency when seconds count. Response time is critical. We will get to the emergency as soon as we can and need to have you do your part by making sure your house numbers are large enough to be visible as the fire trucks are coming down or up your street.

Below are photos of house numbers attached to mailboxes or on signs at the street.




1. Dark numbers on post are very hard to see.




2. Can only see these numbers if looking straight onto the property, not coming up or down the street. The bushes in front of the sign partially obscures it making it very hard to see in daylight and extremely difficult to see at night.



3. Where is the house that goes with this number? Mailboxes are generally placed on one side of the street for ease of mail delivery. The house that relates to this number could be on the other side of the street, at the end of one of two or three driveways.




4. This mailbox has the house number and the post has the same number on both sides so emergency responders can find this more easily.