Fire. It Really Could Happen to You too

Most of us watch with horror the fires which have ravaged our state recently. We sympathize with the loss of pets, and wildlife, and we agonize over lost family members, and the fire fighters who tragically yet valiantly gave their lives fighting for the safety of others, as well as the hero’s who continue to fight the incendiary fire storms in unimaginable conditions.

We also hope that the unthinkable never happens to us—but it could. Not thinking about the possibility of a fire in our canyons racing up the hillside and decimating our small neighborhood in minutes, is precisely what will give birth to a fire and a chance to survive, thrive, and claim victory.

What can we do?

Have an evacuation plan. Figure out how you will exit your property, what you will take with you, and that which you are willing to sacrifice to the fire, rather than risk your life.

Scan your important photos and store them in the cloud, in case you don’t have time to get them out. Most other material things can be replaced.

And take photos, video and otherwise catalog what you own. Once it’s gone, it will make replacing them with the help of your insurance company all that much easier.

But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s really why we’re posting this. Belmont is known for its bucolic rolling hills and in our neighborhood, we are on a peninsula surrounded by the Belmont Open Space, (John Brooks Memorial Open Space), and the San Francsisco Watershed—both areas rife with dry grasses and trees which have never been thinned of dry underbrush. One can only imagine the volatile fuel these areas contain and a simple illegal firework or the spark from an unwitting mini-bike rider could cause of firestorm the likes of which has never been seen in the Bay Area. We feel the need to begin conversations about mitigating some of the most obvious threats to our area—unmanaged trees and brush in open spaces and residential neighborhoods.

And as most people know, it wasn’t the earthquake in 1906 that destroyed San Francisco, it was the resulting fires. Having a wrench to shut off the gas to your home in the event of an earthquake might be useful, if you have one, if you know how to use it, and if you happen to be home. But even if you shut off your gas, but your neighbor doesn’t, or can’t. You’ll both suffer the consequences along with the rest of your block, if not the entire neighborhood.

We installed a EFV gas shut-off value at our home years ago. In the event of an earthquake, or an excessive flow of gas in our home for any reason, this device will automatically shut off the gas.

What Gas Shut-Off Valves Do

The basic purpose of a gas shut off valve is to cut the flow of gas to your house in the event of an earthquake (or, depending on the type of valve, a potentially dangerous leak due to other causes.) Each device has a simple mechanism inside

which activates and blocks the flow of gas. Different manufacturers have their own unique methods of restricting gas flow but they all operate in essentially the same way.

Seismic Valves vs. Excess Flow Valves:
What’s the Difference?

Seismic valves are triggered by the ground shaking caused by earthquakes. When shaking reaches the level of the valve’s designated shut-off point (generally around 5.2-5.4 on the Richter Scale), the valve will automatically stop the flow of gas into your house. Once you have determined that there is no potential danger from fire or explosion, you must reset the valve manually to restart the flow of gas.

Excess Flow Valves are designed to cut off the flow of gas when they detect a higher flow rating than the allotted maximum flow of the home. If you have a line break, the escaping gas will cause excess flow detectable by the valve, which then immediately shut off the flow of gas into your house. Since they operate on a different principle, excess flow valves will not shut off the gas to your house simply because of an earthquake.
Both types of valves offer effective protection from the threat of fire or explosion from natural gas. Simply choose the right valve for your particular application.

A local plumber can easily install this device at your home. It’s a simple procedure that takes about 30 minutes, and cost us only $200, which at the time, included the valve.

Drew & Christine Morgan are REALTORS/NOTARY PUBLIC in Belmont, CA. with more than 25+ years of experience in helping sellers and buyers in their community. As Diamond recipients, Drew and Christine are ranked in the top 50 RE/MAX agents nationwide and the top 3 in Northern California.  They may be reached at (650) 508.1441 or emailed at info@morganhomes.com.

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The information contained in this article is educational and intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute real estate, tax or legal advice, nor does it substitute for advice specific to your situation. Always consult an appropriate professional familiar with your scenario




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