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Get Your Home Ready for Wildfire Season

Jul 31, 2013

Many Americans face the threat of wildfire. Risk may vary from region to region, but there are general preventive measures that you should take.

Pay attention to the roof

Your roof should be clean and built with fire resistant materials. Roofs are often the primary place where homes catch fire. Pay attention to areas where the roof meets a dormer. It’s another danger zone where fires can start. Tile roofs are preferred over shake (wooden shingle) or composite in a “brush area.” Tile or concrete roofs also provide fire protection, and either may get you a break on your homeowner’s premium. Most carriers will not insure a home with a shake roof due to the extreme file hazard associated with them. Pay attention to the roofing material that is in place before purchasing your next home.

Glass

Use dual-pane windows. Their double sheets of glass are more heat resistant than single-pane windows. Apart from dual-pane windows, you can use tempered glass for windows and doors. Also, it’s wise to limit the size and number of windows that face areas of vegetation.

Decks, patios and foundations

Use noncombustible skirting around homes with open foundations. Never store flammable materials under a deck. Install a metal flashing strip where the deck meets the side of the building it’s attached to. Store patio furniture inside when you are not using the deck.

Keep your landscape lean and clean

When planting, use fire-resistant vegetation if possible. Cut dry grass and trees, and clean up dead leaves at least every week. Plant trees at least 10 feet apart.

Go green

Install cellulose insulation. It’s made from eco-friendly recycled paper with fire-retardant additives. It’s a great way to protect your home from wildfire while being kind to the environment.

Fire break around your property

Most insurance policies mandate a minimum 400 foot fire break around your property. Know your insurance policy. If the insurance carrier is required to clear the land around your property, the cost of that clearing will be handed back to you. Many properties in brush areas require a recurring seasonal clearing of brush. Keep this in mind if you’re considering a new home that is “secluded” or outside of a housing tract. Many homes in the mountains or hills are located in “brush area,” and fewer insurance carriers will be open insuring those homes. Carriers willing to offer you insurance will charge higher premiums and provide less coverage than they would for a non-secluded home or one outside of a brush area.

Additional issues
    • Install spark detectors and have your chimney cleaned periodically
    • Cover your attic and sub-floor vents with noncombustible materials
    • Keep propane tanks at least 30 feet away from your home
    • Keep foundation vents clear of vegetation
Have a plan

Be ready for emergencies, and plot your course of action. Become familiar with your community’s disaster preparedness plans and create your own. Identify escape routes from your home and prepare an emergency kit.
If you follow these tips you’ll reduce the risk of having a house fire. Don’t forget to carry adequate home insurance and protect your belongings against natural disasters. Contact our insurance agent for more information.