The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of a fire.
To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it.
Use fire-resistant or noncombustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling, or treat wood or combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking or trim with fire-retardant chemicals evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees. For example, hardwood trees are less flammable than pine, evergreen, eucalyptus or fir trees.
Regularly clean roof and gutters.
Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year. Keep the dampers in good working order. Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Standard 211. (Contact your local fire department for exact specifications.)
Use 1/8-inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas, and the home itself. Also, screen openings to floors, roof and attic.
Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test monthly and change the batteries at least once each year.
Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it’s kept.
Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
Keep a ladder that will reach the roof.
Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes.
Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space.
PLAN YOUR WATER NEEDS
Identify and maintain an adequate outside water source such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool, or hydrant.
Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property.
Install freeze-proof exterior water outlets on at least two sides of the home and near other structures on the property. Install additional outlets at least 50 feet from the home.
Consider obtaining a portable gasoline powered pump in case electrical power is cut off.
Source: FEMA Ready, “Wildfires” http://www.ready.gov. Accessed November 30, 2015. http://www.ready.gov/wildfires
© Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented. Read more.
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