Fewer events are more terrifying than a wildfire threatening your home and the safety of your family. If you live in a wooded area, you should take precautions now to ensure that you can evacuate your family safely, when needed. Following are steps that every homeowner should take to prepare for a wildfire:
Verify Your Homeowner's Policy Coverage Limit
While most homeowner's insurance policies cover damage due to wildfires, a shortfall in replacement coverage could leave some homeowners unable to rebuild their home in the wake of fire. It is vital for homeowners to have adequate replacement coverage in the event a home is destroyed.
Inventory Your Belongings
In the event of a loss, you will be required to provide evidence of your destroyed property in order to obtain insurance funds.
- Use a video camera to document property and belongings. If a video camera is not accessible take photos.
- Store the video or photos offsite along with appraisals for valuable items, such as fine art or jewelry.
- Store a copy of the insurance policy offsite as well.
Comply with Brush Clearance Requirements
The path of a wildfire is unpredictable. Protect yourself by creating a 'safety zone' around your home.
- Clear brush to at least a 200 foot perimeter.
- Properly maintain your property by removing dead ground cover and debris.
- Trim any tree branches hanging over the home or near chimneys.
Click here for additional tips to protect your home.
Pay Attention to Landscaping
- Landscape your home with a 30 foot wildfire safety zone in mind. If your home is situated on a sloping lot, the safety zone should be expanded to 100 feet.
- Select fire-resistant ground cover and plants that help contain fire rather than fuel it.
- Remove "ladder fuels" that link ground cover to treetops on the property.
Protect and Maintain Your Home
Take the following steps to further protect your home against a wildfire:
- Inspect and clean chimneys annually.
- Clean the roof and gutters regularly.
- Use fire-resistant or non-combustible materials on the roof and exterior structure.
- When possible, use masonry walls or chain link fencing instead of wood fencing.
- Keep ladders and fire tools accessible and make sure family members know how to use them.
Click here for more tips on protecting and maintaining your home.
Utilize Wildfire Devices and Services
New technologies are available for combating a wildfire event, including:
- Exterior foam dispensers.
- Roof mounted sprinkler systems.
- Landscaping sprinkler systems.
- Eave/attic and ground vent screens.
If your location puts you at risk for a wildfire:
- Create an emergency escape plan, review it often and post it in a visible area with emergency phone numbers.
- Make sure your property has a clear route for you to exit and emergency vehicles to enter.
- Display address and home names clearly.
Click here for more tips on evacuation planning.
For more tips and information, contact your HUB insurance broker.