We’ve seen a lot of home fires over the last twenty years. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to stop a fire, but often times there are many steps you can take to defend your home and reduce the risk wildfire damage and loss.
Here are 3 Tips to Protect Your Home from Wildfire Damage
1. Observe the Risks
Observing the risks involves more than watching for smoke. There are many ways to monitor the news and social media for fire updates.
Monitor the news on your television, radio and satellite for updates and fire information. You can get a map of Northwest Fire Locations on the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center’s site.
The news stations have set content and schedled news breaks – get real time information on the Web. Be sure to follow relevant fire agencies from Twitter and Facebook. Social media gives you quick snippets of real-time information to keep you ahead of the game. Like this tweet below.
Shaniko Butte Wildfire reaches Lower Deschutes River at Dant. Lower Deschutes River is NOW closed from Trout Creek to Long Bend.
— Central OR Fire Info (@CentralORFire) July 17, 2014
Also, make sure you’re keeping up with local fire restrictions to ensure that you’re in compliance with the latest safety standards to ensure that you don’t accidentally ignite a source.
There are special fire restrictions enacted right now by the State Department of Forestry. Know the dangers, identify them early and stay ahead of the game. What are top four causes of wildfires? Camp fires, party fires, warming fires and cigarettes.
2. Have a Plan
If an evacuation is ordered, where will you meet your family? Where will you stay? Look to the Red Cross for information and assistance, but have a family plan ready for food, money and supplies. Make sure your children understand and practice a fire escape for home fires.
If the evacuation order comes, have a plan for your four-legged friends. Do you know where the shelters are? What about your livestock? Check with local non-profits and fire departments and make a plan.
What about your belongings? If your home catches fire, do you what’s covered? Talk to your adjuster and find out what’s covered ahead of time. If you’re displaced from your home, who pays for the lodging? Ask these questions and review your policy ahead of time.
What about your property and important files? Keep regular photos of your belongings and major purchases in case your adjuster needs to replace something. Now you have definitive proof of ownership and a reference point for value. Make sure you’re backing up those photos, copies of your policy information, appraisals and other important documents off site. Consider uploading that information to the cloud – on a digital storage device.
3. Protect your property
The best protection is prevention. Ensure that you have a defensible space around your home. Clean up those pine needles and trim back those trees under your overhanging to prevent a fire ladder to your home.
Research ‘fire-wise’ landscaping techniques and plan a safety zone for fire truck access and firefighting space. Consider using fire-resistant materials for roofs and exterior, and add screens over chimney and stove pipe. There are a lot of free resources on how to create a ‘fire-wise’ home or ‘fire-adapted’ community
So remember: Stay aware of the risks, stay ahead of the fire and have your plan in place to get out early. We’re in the thick of fire season now, but home fires happen year round and without warning. Use this tips and keep your family prepared.