5 Essential Wildfire Safety Tips for Homeowners

Residents in the Western United States have been warned to brace themselves, as well as their homes, for another punishing wildfire season.

Drought has dried out the vegetation and land in several states, preparing the region for increased wildfire activity, which usually starts in the summer and lasts well into the fall. You should be concerned if your house is near a wildfire area.

What is a Wildfire?

A wildfire is an uncontrollable fire that occurs in the wilderness, such as a forest or countryside. Wildfires have become more dangerous as more people build their homes in wooded areas.

These fires are frequently sparked by lightning and spread rapidly, igniting everything in their path, preparing before a wildfire strike is critical to protect your family, home, and property.

1. Clear Debris

Natural woody material on the ground and tree-cutting debris (also known as slash) may increase the intensity of fires. Increased fire intensity makes it more challenging to control fire and increases the likelihood of surface fires escalating into crown fires. Remove any significant accumulations of logs, branches, and slash by chipping, hauling to a disposal site, or piling for later burning. Check for and remove fire hazards such as dried-out branches, leaves, and debris in and around your home.

2. Prune Nearby Trees

Tree pruning for defensible space is more important to space the trees so that the fire cannot move from one tree clump to the next. This can be done by hiring tree removal companies. Pruning trees should only be done to remove dead branches or those that are almost touching the surface of the ground.

Live branches, on the other hand, can be pruned if desired. Shrubs should be pruned and maintained regularly to prevent excessive growth, and dead stems should be removed from shrubs once a year. When possible, common ground junipers should be removed because they are highly flammable and usually hold a duff layer beneath them.

3. Make Water Sources Accessible

Home hardening, the process of modifying a home to make it more fire-resistant, can also help protect firefighters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends connecting a garden hose to a water line so that fire departments can use it.

You must identify and maintain water sources such as hydrants, ponds, and pools and ensure their accessibility. You can also make sure that your driveway is clear for emergency vehicles and that your address signs are visible from the road.

4. Update Homeowner’s Insurance

Have you documented your belongings recently, or have you made any large purchases or personal items that need to be listed on your home insurance policy? Now is the time to update your insurance policy with your insurance agent. Taking videos of your home and belongings is an excellent way to keep track of your possessions.

Upload them to a password-protected cloud account for digital storage, and make sure your insurance agent is aware of any updates.

Annually, compare home insurance quotes and rates to identify the various policy limits and coverage options available to you. Make certain that the policy you choose reflects your home’s correct square footage and features. The particulars are important.

Determine whether you have a replacement cost policy that pays to replace all of your items at current market value or an actual cash value policy that accounts for depreciation and pays less for older items. Contact your insurance agent or company to update your coverage if you make home improvements.

5. Have an Evacuation Plan

An evacuation plan before a wildfire can help avoid confusion and injuries. A wildfire may force you to flee quickly. Learn your evacuation routes, practice with your family and pets, and plan where you will go. Make an evacuation plan that includes the following items:

A designated emergency meeting location that is not in the path of a fire or hazard. This is essential for determining who has safely evacuated the affected area.

There are several different ways to get away from your house and community. Practice these frequently so that everyone in your family is familiar with them in case of an emergency. It may also be a good idea to keep in touch with a fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO as you may never know when you may require their services.

Making a safety zone around your business or residence, in addition to developing an evacuation plan, can help protect people and property.

6. Monitor Risk in Your Region

Although we cannot predict where or when wildfires will occur, we can use data from media updates, climate and weather patterns, historical fire occurrence, fuel conditions, and other sources to make an educated guess about the likelihood of a given area experiencing a wildfire or experiencing a wildfire of a given intensity.

A Wildfire Risk Triangle depicts the fundamental components for quantifying wildfire risk – likelihood, intensity, and susceptibility to effects.

Stay Prepared

More and more people choose to live in or near forests, rural areas, or remote mountain locations. There, residents enjoy the beauty of the environment while facing the genuine threat of wildfire.

Wildfires are particularly dangerous to people and property because they often start unnoticed and spread quickly. Some homes survive a major wildfire every year in the United States, while many others do not. According to research on home destruction vs. home survival in wildfires, embers and small flames are the primary way that the majority of homes ignite in wildfires. Embers are burning pieces of airborne wood and vegetation that can travel more than a mile in the wind, causing spot fires and igniting homes, debris, and other objects. So they need to be avoided in homes that are located in wildfire-prone areas. In addition, homes can be prepared for wildfire defense by contacting a fire protection company to install non-combustible surfaces, window panes, and fixtures. Additionally, fire-resistant vent upgrades, deck enclosures, or window treatments may be beneficial in keeping the property safe from fire.

Those who survive almost always do so because their owners planned for the possibility of fire, which is an unavoidable force of nature in fire-prone woodland areas. Reduce your risk by preparing now, before a wildfire breaks out. Consult your family about what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area. To protect your family, home, and property, follow the steps outlined in this article.

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