C.A.B.S. is a Montclair Organized Neighborhood defined by four streets: Colton, Asilomar, Balboa and Snake and has approximately 87 homes. We organized ourselves over 15 years ago to serve as a first line of defense in the event of an emergency (earthquakes were our priority then). Now, our focus has turned to wildfire prevention through the Firewise USA® program.
After a neighborhood assessment, we developed a three-year hazard mitigation plan that focused around education, home hardening, fuel reduction and emergency evacuation. We submitted that plan to both Cal Fire and the NFPA for approval and were approved a few months later! In addition to significantly reducing OUR neighborhood from the risks from wildfire, we focused on various adjacent properties that posed a serious risk due to overgrown/dead vegetation. As part of our 3-year plan, we’ll partner with those property owners to reduce those dangerous fuel loads and help increase our chances to both survive and/or escape from fire.
WE’VE LEARNED A LOT about “best practices” during this process and we’re off to a great start! In addition to learning about the most effective actions to prevent home ignitions, we’ve also
- significantly reduced dangerous fuel loads throughout the neighborhood
- focused on fire breaks
- found and cleared our fire hydrants
- updated our evacuation maps
- began the process of working on “adjacencies” (vegetation in areas not owned by any one individual, including fire trails, poorly maintained city-owned properties and potentially threatening tree canopies on evacuation routes). This will likely involve some collaboration with city agencies and bordering neighborhoods.
WE HAD FREE ACCESS to fire experts throughout and are now able to demonstrate commitment to our insurance carriers which could reduce fire insurance premiums (and maybe prevent us from getting cancelled!)
OVERALL we found the program to be very effective and even a little fun! We got to know our neighbors better and learn what our strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to wildfire.
Marty Kaplan, CABS Core Team Leader
Macy Cornell, Firewise USA® for Oakland Program Lead
FEELING INSPIRED? Get YOUR neighborhood signed up and on the path today. Start here at Firewise USA® for Oakland.