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Remembering and Learning From the Bay Area ’91 Firestorm

By Kelly Balamuth on October 28, 2011

Northern California Fire Safety PrecautionsOn the heels of National Fire Prevention Week (October 9 to October 15) comes another reminder of the importance of fire preparedness: the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Berkeley Oakland Hills Firestorm. The monstrous urban wildfire ravaged the area for three days and resulted in 25 fatalities and 3,354 lost homes.

Since that tragic fire two decades ago, state and local municipalities have invested many millions of dollars into heightening fire safety measures. These measures have taken the form of increased emergency response, vegetational management, and community preparations. There have also been large strides in construction and building requirements to which all property owners and builders must adhere.

Some of these updated construction and building requirements include:

  • Ensuring that roofs are at least Class A (protective against major fire exposure); wooden roof components are not allowed.
  • Using spark arrestors when re-roofing or updating with specific types of heating apparatus.
  • Adhering to new rules for safe wall coverings.
  • Using new standards for connecting electricity and power.
  • Taking additional measures if property is located in a region classified as high fire danger; measures may include indoor sprinklers, cautionary systems, streets for emergency access, and more.

As we previously blogged regarding fire prevention week, citizens must remain vigilant and aware to do their part in combating deadly fires and staying safe in the event of one. Preventative safety measures for renters and homeowners include: developing a solid fire escape plan, using proper smoke alarms, practicing safety in the kitchen and beyond, avoiding indoor smoking or open flames. If you’ve been injured by a fire accident in Berkeley or Oakland that you believe was caused by another party’s negligence, contact the Northern California burn injury attorneys with Balamuth Harrington at (888) 254-1234.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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Moraga, California 94556
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