Hidden Hills Magazine Editorial
Exploring Life & Business with Jim Moseley of Sun FireDefense

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jim Moseley.

Hi Jim, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.

In the beginning, I was introduced to and got the licensing on a ceramic fiber material that was used on the space shuttle after the shuttle missions ended. This led to me creating other similar applications to protect lives with an improved fire shelter for firefighters. We also make custom window covers, utility pole fire wraps and rocket stand protection for the leading company in commercial space flight.

I also identified the need for a liquid fire retardant coating that would exceed the typical Class A temperature testing at around 1200F for 10 minutes. Since wildfires can burn up to 2400F it only made sense to create a product that has been tested to withstand heat and fire exposure for up to 3000F. The need for protecting homes has grown each year since we’ve been in business with over $200 billion in wildfire damage over the last five years. The big misnomer is that homes that are made of stucco with tile roofs don’t burn. Stucco doesn’t actually burn, however it has what’s called a spalling effect which causes the trapped oxygen within the porosity of the stucco to explode, thus leaving what is behind to burn. The tile roofs rarely burn, however they get hot enough to transfer heat to the plywood underneath and burn down the home. Our coatings help prevent this from happening.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

I don’t think there is such a thing as a smooth road to success. We’ve had to survive major political and competitor-related attacks for developing a disruptive technology that helps keep homes from burning. If you are fortunate enough to have helped save homes in wildfires, there are the doubters who call it luck. However, I don’t completely disagree with them as natural disasters do bring that to the equation.

In one instance, we took a serious risk by helping save a home in the Woolsey fire. We actually defended the home well after the evacuation orders were given and we worked to save the home up until the last minute. As the fire was approaching, we covered the windows and plugged vents with our ceramic covers. We treated the side of the home where the oncoming fire was destroying homes en-route to the home we were working at.

Later the homeowner stated that 18 homes surrounding the home burned to the ground. Trees within 10 feet were burned to a crisp and the white ceramic fiber covers for the vents were black from the embers that would have made their way into the attic space and blown the windows and burned the home down. The homeowners couldn’t believe their home was still standing when they were allowed back in. The homeowner gave us video testimony and that was a big win for us, so whether it was luck or not we put forth our best effort and the home was still standing.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Sun Fire Defense?

The key to wildfire structural mitigation and protection is redundancy. That is… none of our products guarantee the home won’t burn, however, the combined technologies and service we provide gives the home a fighting chance of survival. We have firefighters that are now giving the initial consultation and then we have multiple products. The core of our protection is a heat censored, remote-activated exterior sprinkler system for the structure and perimeter. It is designed by Craig Weeks, one of our retired fire chiefs of LA county FD. It draws from the city or county primary water source, then if that pressure runs low it automatically utilizes the swimming pool or reservoir as a backup. Because water evaporates so quickly when a fire is near the system also has a retardant in it that lasts until the next rain or until it is washed off.

We also have proprietary fire and break-in resistant window laminates that help protect the windows from blowing in a wind-driven wildfire.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?

I like everything it has to offer in the way of a variety of things to do. What I like least is probably the traffic, however, I get a lot of business done while I’m in traffic.

The Malibu Times
The Washington Post

Since opening in 2014, Sun Fire Defense has emerged as the industry standard in home and commercial fireproofing, providing residents in high-fire risk communities with something that has become all too rare for many in Southern California: peace of mind.

written by Holly Bieler

On the morning of November 8, 2018, Jim Moseley got an unusual call.

“Can you come to Malibu?” the man on the other end asked.

It was a request few others would receive that day. Around 6 a.m. that morning, the Woolsey Fire had jumped the 101 freeway and quickly descended upon Malibu, igniting 3-story flames from Point Dume to Trancas.

Moseley understood the fire’s threat better than most. As the founder and CEO of Sun FireDefense, one of the most well-respected residential and commercial fireproofing companies in the country, Moseley has built an esteemed reputation for innovative products and services that demonstrate a preternatural understanding of how fire works, and more importantly, how it destroys.

If anyone could help the man on the other end of the line, who said his $3.6 million house on Corral Canyon would almost certainly be in the fire’s path by afternoon, it was Moseley. Without a second thought he had jumped in his car, and along with a small crew of Sun FireDefense staff, was soon speeding towards the smoke-choked Corral Canyon. With no time to spare, Moseley and his team hurriedly got to work doing everything they could to protect the man’s house, dousing it in Sun FireDefense’s trademark intumescent coating and fortifying its windows before fleeing the property just as they began to see flames.

Three weeks later, when the homeowner finally arrived home, the impact of Sun Fire Defense’s quick work was revealed in incredibly visceral terms. The fire had hit Corral Canyon with force, destroying property after property on the man’s street. And yet, astonishingly, his home remained completely intact. In pictures he sent Moseley that day, you could clearly see patches of soot where embers had blown against the home’s windows, and flames had licked the exterior walls. It was clear to everyone that if not for Sun FireDefense’s quick work that day, the home would have undoubtedly been destroyed

“Seeing that felt amazing,” said Moseley.

It’s moments like these which make the decades of work Moseley has dedicated to the art of fire-proofing homes worth it. It’s a passion which started years ago and worlds away, during a tour of an aeronautical facility Moseley was taking for work. As part of the tour, the company demonstrated the resilience of new tiles they’d just acquired for the outside of spaceships, which utilized the same science behind fire blankets to create a surface that was almost completely fire-proof. Blasting the tiles with a torch, they seemed to show absolutely no signs of burning, even after minutes of direct, high-intensity contact.

“I was blown away,” Moseley said. “And I became interested in what (that material) could do as far as a crossover into commercial and residential types of applications.”

Moseley began consulting with residential architects and engineers, and was surprised to learn there were few products or services on the market for fireproofing homes and commercial buildings. And so he began researching the best way to do it, immersing himself in research on fire mitigation and cooling his knowledge of innovative materials and engineering from his work in aerospace into truly original, effective products. Moseley’s products utilize cutting-edge materials and engineering to withstand the power of direct flames.

Eventually Moseley presented his findings to a local architect, who was so impressed he immediately connected him with the equipment manager for the Los Angeles Fire Department. Soon Moseley was working closely with the LAFD, integrating his new products and expertise into a variety of innovations that would transform many vital pieces of the department’s equipment, including new fire shelters and windshields that proved exponentially more fire proof than industry standard bearers.

Moseley would go on to work with a number of other fire departments throughout the west, developing fire proof equipment in some of the most high fire-risk areas in the country, before pivoting back to his original dream; providing cutting-edge fire-proofing to homeowners and small business owners.

Moseley opened Sun FireDefense, which soon established itself as the industry standard for residential and commercial fire-proofing. Unlike competitors, Sun FireDefense approached the task of fire-proofing holistically, utilizing cutting-edge materials and engineering deployed through a breadth of services from window coverings and exterior sprays to sprinkler systems and even insulation, all expertly engineered to withstand the power and temperature of the most extreme flames. Pricing ranges from $3.50 to $30 a square foot, offering effective options for homeowners at every budget.

In the years since, Sun Fire Defense has become more vital to the Southern California community than Moseley could ever have imagined. With wildfires getting worse and afflicting more and more areas each year, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Sun FireDefense has become a necessity for hundreds of thousands of families across the country, including many in Malibu. In 2017, a house that had been treated by Sun FireDefense took a direct hit in the Skirball Fire, emerging almost entirely unscathed.

For Moseley, it’s nothing less than a dream come true to know that he’s offering peace of mind to so many.

“These are scary times,” he says. “But it’s incredible to know that we can help.”

Malibu Magazine

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