Wildfires can spark any time in California, but peak fire season usually runs from June through October.
Eight of the Golden State’s ten largest fires on record have happened within the past five years, according to CAL FIRE. Here are a few ways to prepare and better protect yourself, your family, and your home.
HARDEN YOUR HOME
Home hardening is the process of preparing your property, giving it the best chance to withstand a fire. It can cost some money to harden, but there are ways to help that don’t cost a lot.
The roof is the most exposed part of your home to a wildfire. So regularly clearing dry leaves and other debris from your roof and gutters, especially during Autumn, is a simple step.
The best roofing materials are fire resistant, including composition, metal, clay, and tile. If you have wood or shingle roofs, it’s best to replace the roof with fire-resistant Class A, the highest-grade roof material. And be sure to have a fireproof underlayment applied to the roof decking during installation.
Some other things that can help include:
- Be sure to regularly clear vegetation and other combustible materials within five feet of your home.
- Replace wood mulch products within five feet of all structures with non-combustible products such as stone, concrete, or dirt.
- Patio furniture is often one of the most flammable items found near a home. Be sure to store outdoor furnishing away from your home when not in use.
You may also need to spend a little money to block or box any openings in the home’s structure, such as eaves, soffit, and vents. To help stop embers from getting inside, install coverings on your vents made of 1/16 to 1/8-inch metal mesh.
Check out the “Wildfire Home Retrofit Guide,” for more best practices for reducing your home’s vulnerability to wildfire.
HAVE A PLAN
Before wildfire strikes, it is vital to have a plan. We’ve covered emergency preparedness before and suggest checking out all the recommendations. However, there are two main actions that everyone in your household should be familiar with.
- Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit, or “go-bag,” for each person in your household. And remember the six “P’s” in case of immediate evacuation: People and pets; papers (important documents); Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses; Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia; Personal computer; and “Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash.
- Prioritize communication. You need to know how you will communicate with loved ones and have a pre-planned meeting point outside the hazard area should your group get separated. Try to have one out-of-state contact who can act as a liaison in an emergency.
CAL FIRE recommends filling out a Family Communication Plan containing critical evacuation and contact information.
HAVE THE RIGHT PARTNERS
One of the greatest comforts when facing unknown risks is having the right team of advisors on your side.
A home is generally your most significant asset; protect it. Insurance is critical to enable you to rebuild your home after a wildfire.
High-net-worth property owners have unique needs that require broader considerations and a personalized approach. So as you bolster your disaster preparedness strategy, be sure you’ve consulted with an insurance brokerage firm, like Premier Private Client, familiar with the risks associated with precious assets.