Prepare now for wildfire season

Posted on April 21, 2021 at 09:23 PM

Prepare now before wildfire threatens your family and your property

The first Saturday in May (May 1, 2021) is Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, and it’s a day that brings neighborhoods and entire communities together to clear brush and make landscaping changes to homes and businesses that help reduce wildfire risk.

Because in-person gatherings continue to be limited in many places due to COVID-19, event sponsors State Farm and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are instead urging home and business owners to make changes on their own properties, while following CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For those who face the threat of property loss from wildfires, knowing that wildfire risk can be mitigated and knowing damage from wildfire is covered under standard Homeowners, Renters and Business Owners  insurance policies may help bring some peace of mind during the upcoming wildfire season.

To help you prepare, the NFPA offers a free Firewise Toolkit for home and business owners whose properties are exposed to the threat of damage from wildfire. The toolkit provides a list of possible projects, checklists, safety tips and much more.

Many insurance companies also offer tips and assistance to help property owners learn ways to make their homes and businesses fire-resistant, with some companies even offering wildfire risk assessments and site-specific action plans to reduce risk of damage to homes and businesses. So it’s a good idea to go online or call your agent or company to find out more. State agencies like the Idaho Department of Lands, Oregon Department of Forestry and Washington State Department of Natural Resources also have information to help.

Now is the perfect time to take action to protect your family, home and business from wildfire. NW Insurance Council and the NFPA have some tips for you.

Planning/Preparation Tips:

  • Make a plan - Before an emergency, create a family evacuation plan and consider multiple routes out of your home and neighborhood in case the most obvious routes are blocked by fire or traffic.
  • What’s in your “Go Bag?” – Now is a good time to make a list for all family members of what everyone should pack in a “go bag,” in case of an unexpected evacuation order. In addition to clothes, hand sanitizer and masks, include things like prescription medicines, important paperwork (like your insurance policy), your pet’s needs and even toilet paper.
  • Review your insurance policy – Before disaster strikes, contact your insurance agent or your insurance company to be sure you have the right coverage to meet your needs.
  • Renters Insurance – If you rent, you also need to protect your belongings from wildfire. Consider a Renters Insurance policy for your personal possessions.
  • Maintain a complete home inventory – Keep copies of contracts and receipts of your personal possessions in a safe place outside of your home. Take pictures or video of your belongings with your smartphone. 

Property protection tips:

  • Defensible Spacing – Clear brush 30 to 100 feet from your home.  Keep your yard well-groomed and watered and remove old stumps and weak or diseased trees from your property.  Keep flammable materials at least 30 feet away from the home.
  • Fireproof your rooftop and decks – The roof is the most vulnerable part of your home in a wildfire, due to drifting embers and sparks (a common cause of home ignition in wildfires). 
  • Home interior precautions – Consider installing a home sprinkler system if you live in a wildfire-prone area.  Replace batteries in smoke detectors in every room of your home at least twice each year. 

For more information about insurance, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942.

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