Most houses are in danger well before flames hit their doorstep — burning embers can travel up to a mile in the wind. So DHS teamed with Foster-Miller to adapt a tent typically used to protect military vehicles from chemical attacks into a system that deflects flames from houses. A year and a few hundred yards of fireproof, rugged nylon cordura later, they produced the SAFE Quick Cover, a rooftop system that rolls out the fabric at the flip of a switch, covering an evacuated house in minutes. (You couldn't stay in the covered house, because the fire's heat would still kill you.) "A homeowner could deploy the system on their way out the door," says Rob Knochenhauer, the lead engineer on the project for Foster-Miller.