Due to the rural nature and vast area (421 square miles) of Echols County, be sure you can be self-reliant in a fire emergency. Use these fire safety tips to help protect yourself, your family, and your home from fire.
Rural Fire Safety and Prevention
Be aware of special fire hazards near wooded areas.
Some locations may create longer response times for firefighters, law enforcement, and rescue services.
Most of Echols County’s residential areas are considered “rural-urban interface”, which is the point where homes meet combustible vegetation. You are encouraged to increase your role in protecting lives and property in your community beyond the city limits.
Fire Facts about Rural Living
Once a fire starts outdoors in a rural area, it is often hard to control. Many homes are located far from fire stations. The result can be longer emergency response times. Within a matter of minutes, an entire home may be destroyed by fire. Limited water supply in rural areas can make fire suppression difficult. Homes may be secluded and surrounded by woods, dense brush and combustible vegetation that can fuel fires and make suppression efforts more difficult.
Tips for Making Your Property Fire Resistant
Post home address signs that are clearly visible from the road. Use reflective numbers that are at least 3 inches tall, and ensure visibility from either direction of travel along the public road.
Provide emergency vehicle access with properly constructed driveways and roadways, at least 12 feet wide with adequate turnaround space.
Make sure water sources, such as hydrants, pools, and ponds, are accessible to the fire department. Keep lawns trimmed, leaves raked, and the roof and rain-gutters free from debris.
Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your home.
Store flammable materials and liquids in metal containers outside the home at least 30 feet away from structures Create defensible space by thinning/removing trees and brush within 30 feet of your home.
Landscape your property with fire resistant plants and vegetation to prevent fire from spreading quickly. Burning yard waste is a fire hazard. Check with GA Forestry Commission for fire permit requirements and restricted burning times.
Prepare Your Family
Know how to contact the fire department and emergency services in your area. Dialing 911 is the best option. Early notification is important for best response. Dial 911 immediately after getting your family to a safe location, if possible.
Have at least one fire extinguisher and know how to use it. It is best to have multiple extinguishers, located in different locations near exits of your home.
Plan ahead. Make sure you and your family are prepared for a fire emergency. Develop and practice escape and evacuation plans with your family.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Change the batteries when the daylight savings time change happens, or at least once per year. Test the alarms more often.