In the 2007 Malibu fire, residents made headlines by hiring private companies to dispense a fire-retardant gel on their homes. Now that gel is available to homeowners so they can apply the coating themselves.
"When mixed with water at the end of a garden hose, super absorbent polymers in the gel concentrate trap water molecules and suspend them in millions of tiny bubblets," said John Bartlett, president of manufacturer Barricade International.
In 1994, the former firefighter was called to a trash blaze where the only item to survive the flames was a wet baby diaper. The diaper's super-absorbent polymer technology sparked the idea for the house gel.
The product has the consistency of shaving cream and the scent of canola oil. It can be sprayed onto roofs, windows, eaves and walls of a house to create a protective "wet blanket," Bartlett said.
The company says the gel is the only gel concentrate approved for use by the U.S. Forest Service and is safe around people and animals.
A kit that includes a nozzle and enough concentrate to cover 500 to 700 square feet is $326. A refill pack of four concentrate containers is $256. The products are available at surviveandlive.com/barri cade . More information: www.firegel.com "> www.firegel.com .
-- Barbara Thornburg and Michael Edwards
Fire-retardant gel coating for houses available to homeowners
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