How To Reduce The Risks Of Devastating Wildfire Damage

April 28, 2017

In recent years, wildfires have destroyed thousands of miles of land throughout the United States. When these devastating fires happen, home and farm owners can turn to their insurance agents for help. Insurers set up programs to help people cope with the aftermath of wildfires and damage claims. They are also able to answer questions throughout the claims process.

To help homeowners lower the risks of more property damage and loss, insurance experts offer the following tips: 

  • Look carefully at the land surrounding the house, and move any plants that are too close to the home.
  • If trees are growing over the roof or are touching the home, they should be removed or trimmed.
  • Clean leaves and debris from gutters, fences and roofs.
  • If any openings into the home could allow embers in, seal them shut temporarily during high-risk periods.
  • Keep yard decorations, patio furniture or other flammable items stored safely.
  • Remove any landscaping mulch from around the house.
  • If there are evacuation orders, seal all doors and windows.
  • Keep all communication equipment charged and ready to go.
  • Prepare an emergency kit to take along if there are evacuation orders.
  • Before leaving the property following an evacuation order, turn off the gas.
  • If there is time, hose the house down with water on the outside before leaving for an evacuation order.

Experts recommend that people build emergency kits with medication, a first aid kit, blankets, water, dry or canned food, cell phones, clothing, extra batteries and a radio that operates on batteries. Since some shelters may not have an abundance of food or supplies on hand, take the emergency kit along to a shelter if evacuation orders are implemented. 

Another important issue to address is building an emergency plan. Since some family members may not be home when evacuations are ordered, each person should know where to go. Family members should know how to contact one another as well. Also, family members should have a list of emergency numbers for services such as fire, police and other departments. Being prepared for a wildfire can help homeowners save their properties and their lives. Homeowners should also keep their insurance agent's phone number with a list of emergency numbers. It is important to reach out to an agent immediately after such a disaster to ensure that all necessary steps are taken. Learn more about and discuss preparation options with an agent.

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