Defensible space key to stopping fires, and virus

There are a lot of similarities between fighting a conflagration and battling a contagion and this week, residents of the Eastern Sierra found themselves doing both.

We’re not sure what damage the Mountain View fire did to Walker, but it appears the blaze started in town and blew out into Antelope Valley and into the Wellington Hills.

Key to extinguishing a fire is to cut off its fuel by surrounding it and then dousing the red stuff with the wet stuff.

That’s not that different from containing a virus, except for the coronavirus, we’re the fuel.

But unlike a fire, a virus isn’t a raging chemical reaction rolling toward you at warp speed, consuming everything in its path.

More subtle methods are required to determine where the virus is located so you can isolate those portions and hold your ground until help arrives or the thing dies off on its own.

Dealing with a fire, or a virus, requires resources in the form of equipment and people. It’s hard to work an emergency without emergency workers, and that’s where we’re vulnerable to the virus.

But neither fire nor the coronavirus is magic and we’re not helpless. We can make sure we take steps to protect our lives and property by creating a defensible space both around our homes and our persons.

With the holidays coming up, people are going to want to hug, to interact, but we need to do that safely. Personal defensible space of 6 feet is recommended for the closed spaces where most holiday gatherings occur. A mask is the uniform of the day for firefighters and medics, and we should emulate them when we’re out shopping for a turkey.

No one would love for this outbreak to be over more than we would, but that’s not going to happen without some effort.


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