Thursday, November 17, 2016

Don’t Let Wildfires Burn You

Everyone who lives in California knows about the problems of wildfires. However, many do not truly appreciate how big and serious the problem is. To get a better understanding of the risks that homeowners face, have a look at the state government’s Statewide Fire Map. Your home is the biggest investment you will make for your family and it is in danger. This does not mean that you need to live in a state of panic or constant fear. Taking the right precautions to protect your home and ensuring that you have the insurance coverage you need will help to safeguard your home and your financial security.

Protect Your Home

There is plenty of material available online on how to make your home fire resistant. Study it and take the precautions you can. However, what is often overlooked is the need to create a defensible space around the house to reduce the risks of fire reaching the structure.This space is divided into 3 separate zones, each with its own specific precautions.

Zone 1: This is the area closest to the house and covers a distance of 0 to 5 feet. The key precautions are:

  • Use non-combustible material for mulches.
  • Make paths and walkways of brick, stone or concrete.
  • All plants and shrubbery in this area should be non-combustible or fire resistant. Use low height plants that are in irrigated flowerbeds or parts of the lawn that are regularly sprinkled.
  • Do not store firewood, inflammable liquids or corrosive chemicals in this area or under a deck.

Zone 2: This covers the distance of 6 to 30 feet from the house. You should:

  • Keep a distance of at least 10 feet between trees. This will reduce the hazards of a fire jumping from one tree to the next. On slopes, increase the distance between trees as much as possible.
  • Trim any branches that hang over the house.
  • Remove shrubs and dead vegetation from under the trees.
  • Keep the trees and plants well-watered.
  • Move RVs, trailers, sports vehicles etc. to a distance of 100 feet from the house.

Zone 3: This is the final zone that covers the distance of 31 to 100 feet from the house. This is where you need to:

  • Clear away all dead trees, plants, shrubs, and other such material.
  • Trim trees and shrubs in such a way that ladder (i.e. near to the ground combustible material) is minimized.
  • Clear the area under the trees of all dry plants, grass and foliage.
  • If the house is on a slope, extend this zone to 200 feet from the structure.

Get the Insurance You Need

Taking steps to protect you home from wildfires is important, but there is no way to be completely safe from them. If the worst should happen and your home is damaged or destroyed by fire, having the right type and amount of insurance coverage will cover the cost of repairs or rebuilding. Talk to your insurance broker to be sure you have the coverage you need. Do not postpone doing this. As the wildfire map shows, they can happen anywhere, at any time with no fore warning.

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