Safety Tips

Defensible Space Tips

  • Keep roof clear of flammable debris
  • Do not stack firewood next to structure
  • Keep flammable vegetation and materials 10 feet from propane tanks
  • Have an outdoor water supply available, with hoses and nozzles capable of reaching all parts of the structure
  • Provide driveway clearance of 12 ft W x 12ft H
  • Be sure driveway address is marked with reflective signs clearly visible from two directions.

As a resident of OCFD6, you live in a Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) area.  In a WUI environment homes are built where they could be threatened by wildfire.

The term ‘Defensible Space’ refers to the area around a structure or group of structures where combustible fuels have been reduced to decrease the threat of wildfire.  Defensible Space provides the local fire responders room to work and increases the likelihood that your home and surrounding structures will survive a wildfire.

The resources listed below are intended to assist you in creating your ‘Defensible Space.’  Following this advice will not guarantee that your structure(s) will a wildfire, but it will increase their probability of survival.

For more information contact OCFD6 personnel at 997-2981.

Tips For Avoiding Chimney Fires

  • Defensible SpaceUse only seasoned wood to build your fires
  • Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke
  • Never burn wrapping paper, cardboard, or other trash in your fireplace or wood stove
  • Install stovepipe thermometers to monitor temperatures, and adjust burning practices as necessary
  • Have your chimney inspected regularly and cleaned when needed

Winter Driving Emergency Kit

  • Cell phone with vehicle charger
  • Blankets, warm clothes, gloves & hats
  • Small shovel, and sand or cat litter
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight, headlamp, with good batteries
  • Quality tow strap
  • Properly sized tire chains
  • First aid kit
  • Non perishable food and drink
  • Ice scrapper with brush
  • Emergency triangles or other warning devices

Cooking Tips

  • Always stay in kitchen while cooking.
  • Keep flammable items at least 3 feet from your range top.
  • Roll up sleeves and wear oven mitts.  Loose clothes can catch fire.  If clothes do catch fire, stop, drop, and roll.
  • Turn pot handle in to prevent small children from pulling them down.
  • Keep children and pets away from the range when anyone is cooking.
  • To prevent scalds, turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
  Cooking video  



  Play Cooking Fire Video    

Make sure your house is accessibleFire Escape Planning

  • Bring family together, and draw out map of home. The map should include two escape routes from each room.
  • Make sure all members of household understand map and the plan. Assign members to assist infants, elderly, or disabled.
  • Choose an outside meeting place, such as a tree, rock, or other landmark.
  • Double check escape routes to ensure they are adequate
  • Take time to practice the drill, and make changes to your plan if necessary. Most fires happen at night, so make sure to practice in the dark.

Make Sure your House is Accessible

  • Fire engines are 8 1/2 ft wide, 10 ft high, 32 ft long, and weight 50,000 lbs. A Subaru weights 3400 lbs. Make sure your road is sized accordingly.
  • 12 ft wide on straight sections and 28 ft radius is preferable for plowing clearances.
  • Make sure your home's address is marked with 3" or larger reflective letters and numbers

Holiday Hazards

  • Water your tree. Dry trees cause more than 1000 house fires a year
  • Don't use lights with frayed wire, loose sockets, or broken plugs
  • Don't overload the circuit, too many strings of lights connected end to end can cause a fire
  • Turn off Christmas lights when going to bed
  • Keep space heaters away from curtains, bedspreads, and furniture. Teach children to stay away from space heaters.
  • Take down tree as soon as possible. Every day the tree stays up it dries out

Fire Apparatus Access

To give our emergency vehicle drivers the best possible access to your property, OCFD6 recommends the following guidelines.  Hereafter, the term Road shall be used interchangeably with the terms Blue Signed Access Roads (registered with Okanogan County) and Driveway.
To contact OCFD6 regarding fire apparatus access or other business related to OCFD6, call (509) 997-2981.

The surface of your road should be asphalt, concrete, gravel, or other approved driving surface capable of supporting a minimum load of 75,000 pounds year round.

Length, Turnarounds, and Pullouts
If the length of your road exceeds 150 feet, you should provide approved turnarounds
and pullouts. 
Turnarounds should be placed at the end of your road and at each structure or group of structures.  The inside turning radius should be a minimum of 28 feet; outside turning radius should be a minimum of 45 feet.
Pullouts should be spaced every 300 feet and be at least 10 feet wide and 35 feet long.
Turns and switchbacks should have a minimum inside turn radius of at least 28 feet.

The diagrams below are acceptable turnarounds for fire apparatus dead-end access roads and driveways.


The width of your road’s drivable surface should be a minimum of:
                        12 feet: 1- 4 Residential Structures
                        22 feet: 5+ Residential Structures
Your road should have a vertical clearance of at least 12 feet from beginning to end.
These clearances should be maintained year round in all weather conditions.

The grade of any portion of your road should not exceed 10%.

Gates used to secure your road should meet or exceed the minimum drivable surface clearances listed in the ‘Clearances’ portion of this document. 
Powered Gates should be equipped to operate in the event of a power failure.
Emergency personnel should be allowed access through any locked gate through a key box or other approved device.

Load limits should be posted at both entrances to bridges using reflective numbers at least 3 inches tall on a contrasting background. Load limit signs should be visible year round.  Load limits should allow for a working capacity of at least 75,000 pounds.

Address Markers
All residential and commercial structures should have a permanently posted address placed at each driveway entrance and be visible from both directions of travel along the road. The address should be visible and legible from the road on which the address is located.
Address signs along one way roads should be visible from both directions of travel.
Where multiple addresses are required for a single driveway, they should be mounted on a single post at the driveway’s entrance and additional signs should be posted where driveways divide.