With all of the fires burning in Colorado already this year, it brings back haunting memories of the 2003 and 2007 fire storms we had throughout California. Nothing can completely prepare someone for a total loss of their home, their personal property or some of the family memories in photos that may never be replaced. We need to be very aware that we are just coming into San Diego’s fire season and be diligent in doing what we can to protect our homes, our family and our pets.
Here are some tips to help you be prepared as we embark onto our peak fire season:
• Make sure that any dry brush is cleared around your home. If at all possible, maintain at least 100’ of clear area. Plant fire resistant plant such as succulents. You can work with your local nursery or home improvement store for suggestions.
• Replace older wood shake roofing with non-flammable composite or tile roofing, where possible.
• If you have a fireplace, make sure that you have a spark arrestor installed on your chimney.
• Be careful when storing flammable liquids and store them away from your main living area if at all possible.
• Take assessment of your belongings BEFORE something happens. Regularly go through your house and update your inventory of your higher ticket items with serial numbers if possible and values. Keep a copy of any receipts you may have or your inventory and store it away from the premises or in a fireproof safe. Some people get overwhelmed with trying to keep a running inventory, so even if you don’t do that… go through the house and take photos approximately every 6 months to a year. This will help greatly if you do have to file a claim in coming up with an inventory list for the adjuster after the fact.
• CalFire has a great video on their website to get you prepared as well as an evacuation guide. Visit http://www.readyforwildfire.org for more information.
Make sure you have an Emergency Preparedness Kit. The American Red Cross has some suggestions from former evacuees with what they would suggest you include.
• Insurance policy and contact information for your agent or insurance company.
• Any regular medications you or your family members take
• Comfortable clothing and good sturdy shoes, i.e., sweats & sneakers.
• Snack food.
• Family pictures/photo albums, irreplaceable heirlooms, pillows, personal electronics (iPod, Laptop, Cell phone, etc.)
• Cell phone & laptop chargers
• The American Red Cross is a great resource to prepare yourself and your family. For more information visit http://www.redcross.org/domore
If you are asked to evacuate your home, if time permits, try to take the following steps before leaving your home.
• Turn off pilot light and gas
• Turn off lights
• Hose down rooftops and the outside of your home.
• Lock doors and windows.
• Gather all of the family pets and get them together in one room so you can easily find all of them if and when you need to evacuate.
• Follow the evacuation route as set out by the local authority.
As with any emergency that happens, the well being of your family and pets is of utmost concern. Possessions can be replaced. If you are ordered to evacuate, don’t waste time, get out of the area as quickly and safely as possible.
If you have any questions about your policy and how your coverage would respond in such a situation, feel free to contact our Carlsbad Homeowners Insurance office at 760-795-2002 or our Riverside Homeowners Insurance office at 951-296-6833.