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LA Firefighter Says Pool Pump System Gives Homeowners 'A Fighting Chance' Against Wildfires

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Los Angeles City firefighter is helping to give homeowners what he calls a "fighting chance" against wildfires before help arrives.

Revving up for wildfires is what firefighter and Fire Defense Service Co-Founder Jim Prabhu does on and off the job.

During the Woolsey fire, he and his cousin Danny, who is also a firefighter, saw that fire departments were overwhelmed. They also realized many homes had pools that could be precious resources. So they came up with the portable fire pump cart system, using pool water to help protect homes.

"Eighty percent of the job that goes into saving your home in a wildfire is done before the fire has even started," Prabhu said. Fire defense, he explained, starts with the homeowner: "Their job is to basically put the system poolside, put the suction into the pool, and lay out their fire hose ... put the signage in front, then they can leave."

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Through Fire Defense Service, homeowners can rent the system that was developed and is maintained by firefighters. When a wildfire is approaching, the homeowner brings out the system for firefighters before evacuating.

"That way they don't have to commit any of their resources, any of their equipment. They literally back their rig into the driveway and they have a hose that's already laid out for them," Prabhu said.

The water can be pumped through multiple lines at a time. Even though homeowners are advised to set the system up for firefighters and let them take over, if worse comes to worse, the hoses can be easily handled by most people, according to the co-founder.

RELATED: Report: 'Perfect Storm' Fueled Historic Woolsey Fire, 'Overwhelmed' Agencies

Prabhu tells CBS2/KCAL9's Rachel Kim using the pool and the system gives firefighters a lot more water to fight with.

"Your typical fire engine carries about 500 gallons of water. They will utilize 400 gallons of that," he explained. "This is a 40,000 gallon pool, so you're looking at about 80 fire engines right here in this swimming pool."

The sign out in front lets firefighters know what to expect inside when they arrive: tools and equipment recognized and used by fire departments across the country.

"It gives that homeowner a fighting chance," Prabhu insisted. "They need to be prepared, they need to have a plan in place."

The system costs about $300 a month. For more information, visit the Fire Defense Service website.

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