In light of the recent fires that are threatening homes across California, it is especially crucial to assess your plan in the event of a wildfire. For many areas in California, wildfire “season” lingers year-round. As noted by Nationwide Private Client in a spotlight on exposures, 9,000 wildfires burned 1.2 million acres of land and 10,800 structures in California in 2017, lighting up the most catastrophic year on record for the state.
While about one third of Californians live in especially high-risk areas surrounding mountains, foothills or grasslands, wildfire can pose a threat to almost any household. The Tubbs Fire that killed 22 people and destroyed 5,636 structures from Calistoga to Santa Rosa ripped through suburban neighborhoods that would seemingly be more protected from fire danger, proving that no area is immune from disaster.
Don’t wait. Prepare your home, workplace and family now for a wildfire event.
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO SAFEGUARD YOUR HOME
- Defensible space/landscape: As AIG points out in “Lessons Learned: Smart Landscaping”, certain vegetation can smolder or spread fire to your home. Clear out dead material and try to keep a buffer of space between vegetation and your home.
- Exterior considerations: Consider using non-flammable construction materials for decks and patio covers or dual-paned windows to reduce the chance of spreading and breakage during a fire.
- Equipment to have on hand: Keep working fire extinguishers and multiple garden hoses on hand in your home and test smoke alarms monthly.
CREATE A WILDFIRE ACTION PLAN FOR YOUR FAMILY
- Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers near your phone
- Assemble an emergency supply kit and keep an extra in your car
- Designate an emergency meeting location outside of the fire area
- Prepare your pets by having necessities on hand and boarding options in mind
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO PREPARE?
Taking an inventory of your belongings through video or written documentation is a good way to remember what you own in the case of an emergency. Revisit your homeowner’s policy to make sure the cost to replace your home is realistic and reflective of any additions or upgrades you’ve made in recent years.
Also check in with your broker and your insurance provider to determine if any wildfire prevention and/or response services are offered and whether you qualify. Some carriers, such as Chubb, AIG and Nationwide have wildfire mitigation specialists who will monitor your home, set up precautionary measures, and spray your property with fire retardant if faced with present danger.
To find out more about your home’s potential risk and whether you qualify for additional services offered by your insurance program, contact your MMA insurance broker.Download a handy emergency supply kit checklist and list of pre-evacuation preparation steps HERE.