Dear Editor:

I recently came across a new word “Hazus” that sent me scrambling to Google its meaning and was astonished to learn that Hazus is a registered trademark of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Curiosity getting the better of me, I read on and learned buildings can be categorized into seven general classes by occupancy type, residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, religious, government and educational buildings. Regardless of the occupancy type, all these buildings can be assessed for natural hazards vulnerability such as the 2020 El Dorado, Yucaipa, wildfire that subjected surrounding California residential areas with ash debris that drifted for several weeks affecting air quality as well as causing residue damage to building structures and pools.

The actual stimulus for this emergency preparedness venture was a recent California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) form entitled “Fire Hardening and Defensible Space Advisory, Disclosures, and Addendum” (Ha! – it’s a well-known fact that C.A.R. attorneys love legal forms), so homebuyers and sellers be ready for the paperwork avalanche that graces even a simple real estate transaction.

The term “defensible space” refers to fire mitigation factors such as clearing combustible landscaping or other materials from within five feet of the home and under the footprint of any attached deck, replacing single pane or non-tempered glass windows, securing missing bird stopping or roof flashing, and installing 1/8-inch wire mesh screen on vents, and beneath porches, decks, etc. It is also recommended to replace any combustible construction such as wood gutters, eaves, soffits, and roofing with non-combustible composition.

I decided that it was also time to review and update a home safety emergency readiness plan and found nuts and bolts emergency preparedness information on ready.gov. There’s an abundance of hazardous risk mitigation information on the Internet such as possible seismic retrofitting grants, e.q. safety valves, insurance, etc., so folks let’s rock and roll with a prayer and a godly plan to safeguard our homes and communities as best we can – y’all consider what Jesus taught – be not afraid, but do take care and be vigilant!

Joan Marie Patsky, Beaumont

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