Brush Fire Season is Upon Us: Are You Prepared?

by | Aug 27, 2020 | Auto & Home

Brush Fire Season is Upon Us: Are You Prepared?

As we all know, California continues to be a weather “hot spot,” which always raises questions about how to protect your home and family against fires.

Did you know? Brush fires cause billions of dollars worth of damages every year, destroying hundreds or even thousands of homes and properties.

If you live in an area that is highly susceptible to brush fires then you are well aware of the danger. However, there are precautionary measures you can always take to keep your family and home safe. Read on to learn more and make sure you are prepared!

First, Have a Plan

It is always good, no matter where you live, for you and your family to have an emergency plan and emergency kits in place.  That means water, medical supplies, food, flashlights, extra clothing, and blankets could be very important in the event of a fire (or earthquake). These items should be easily accessible in your house and/or in your car, for a fast or unexpected exit if necessary.

Having kits ready is important, but even more critical is that every member of your family knows how to communicate with each other, in the event of an emergency. Knowing exactly what to do and where to go can be lifesaving.  Give some attention to this simple instruction, and it could save lives in the future.

Prepare Your Home & Yard

The design and landscape of your home in today’s era of hot weather extremes is essential to household safety. Here are some guidelines to follow:

    • Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it, such as cactus and succulents.
    • 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 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 if that isn’t possible consider 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.

Water!  Water!  Water!

  • Be sure to identify and maintain an adequate outside water source, such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool, or hydrant if at all possible.
  • Be sure to 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.
  • Be sure to consider obtaining a portable gasoline powered pump, in case electrical power is cut off - a growing problem today with rolling blackouts!

Have questions about fire insurance or fire safety? Contact your United Agencies Representative for assistance. Our trained agents are happy to answer any question you may have. Be sure to request a free insurance quote to ensure your coverage is up to date and covers fire damage!

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