Are you ready for wildfire season? These tips will help you prepare.Insured by Carver
WILD FIRE SAFETY - PLAN AHEAD TO HELP MINIMIZE RISK
Mercury Insurance offers property protection tips to homeowners; advice in the event of evacuation
Mercury offers these tips to homeowners to help them protect their property and prepare for an evacuation.
Tips for protecting your home from wildfires
- Establish and maintain a safe zone around your house that will act as a fuelbreak. Install a greenbelt around your home and other structures of low-growing, fire-resistant plants such as succulents. Your local nursery can suggest a combination of attractive, water-wise plant materials that will help to reduce your home's vulnerability. If possible, your safe zone should be 100 feet wide.
- Retrofit your home with non-flammable building materials. Roofs should be made of a non-combustible, "Class A" fire-resistant material. Exterior windows should be dual-paned tempered glass. Exterior walls should be finished with fire-resistant materials such as stucco, stone or brick. Although easy-to-maintain, vinyl siding can melt in a fire and is not recommended.
- Clean roof surfaces, gutters and eaves of leaves, pine needles and branches regularly to avoid accumulation of flammable materials.
- Install spark arresters in chimneys and apply one-quarter inch, non-combustible screening to all vent or eave openings.
- Keep trees and shrubs pruned, and remove dead or dying trees plant materials. Stagger planting of trees to create a barrier to intercept and prevent wind-driven burning material from reaching your home. Prune branches that are near- or overhang- the roof. Remove lower tree branches below six feet from the ground, and maintain a vegetation-free zone beneath the tree's drip line.
- Store flammable liquids properly and away from occupied buildings. Propane tanks should be located 50 feet from structures, and valves should be turned off if there is a danger of fire. The tank area should be clear of flammable vegetation and combustible materials.
- All combustibles such as firewood, picnic tables, boats, etc., should be located 50 feet from your home and other structures.
- Do not connect wood fencing directly to your home.
- Maintain your irrigation system.
- Make sure your street address is visible from the street.
What to do during a wildfire
Wildfires can occur unexpectedly and homeowners should be ready to take action.
- Tune in to news broadcasts for reports and evacuation information.
- Park your car in an open space facing the direction of escape.
- Gather pets and confine them to one room.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Leave immediately if advised to evacuate.
Emergency Preparedness Kits - What to take to an evacuation center
The American Red Cross offers these suggestions from former evacuees about items to include in an emergency preparedness kit.
- Comfortable clothing, such as sweats, and sturdy shoes
- Medications for the family and pets
- Personal items, such as family pictures, favorite books, iPod and cell phone with chargers, and your bed pillow
- Snack food
- Cash in small bills and coins
- Insurance paperwork and contact information
- Cell phone chargers
For more ideas from the Red Cross about emergency preparedness, go to http://www.redcross.org/domore
Leaving your home during an evacuation
Homeowners with property located in rural areas or communities adjacent to open space have a greater risk of damage during a wildfire. If fire officials declare an evacuation—and time permits—homeowners should take these safety precautions prior to departing.
- Turn off gas and pilot lights.
- Turn on a light in every room.
- Move combustible patio furniture inside, and relocate flammable furniture away from windows and sliding glass doors.
- Connect garden hoses to outside faucets.
- Hose down rooftops and the outside of your home.
- Lock your home.
- Follow the designated evacuation route.
Filing a claim
Claims can be reported to Mercury's Claims Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (800) 503-3724. Learn more by reading ourfire insurance claims guide.
For more information about protecting your family, pets and property from violent and deadly firestorms, visit these websites:
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection -http://www.fire.ca.gov/
Firewise Communities Resources for Life Safety -http://www.firewise.org/resources/resources_for_life.htm