Survey Says Nearly 8 in 10 Calif. Homeowners in Fire Danger Areas Think Wildfire Losses ‘Unlikely’

October 14, 2004

Seventy-eight percent of California homeowners living in identified fire danger areas believe that it is “somewhat” or “very” unlikely their home will be damaged or destroyed by a wildfire, according to a survey released by the California Fire Safe Council and Allstate Insurance Company.

Commissioned to help bring attention to fire safety issues during National Fire Safety Month, the survey of 1,008 California homeowners also found that, while 50 percent of homeowners living in zip-code areas with identified fire danger believe the fire danger in their community is “moderate” or “high,” nearly half (49%) of homeowners in the same areas believe their fire risk is “low.”

Regardless of their perception of risk, 80 percent of all respondents report they are “very” or “somewhat” confident they know what to do to be prepared for wildfire. However, fewer people responded that they have actually taken a key step to get prepared. Sixty-eight percent of homeowners in fire danger areas say they have a plan for getting their family to safety in the event of a wildfire.

“It’s clear we have a long way to go to educate Californians about wildfire danger. But we’re making progress. I’d like to see more people with written evacuation plans and defensible space, and Californians should know their local Fire Safe Council can help,” said Erica Bisch, executive director of the California Fire Safe Council.

Close to half (46%) of homeowners surveyed said they are familiar with the term “defensible space.” Of those, 27 percent said they have met their community’s minimum defensible space requirement.

“With more and more Californians living in fire danger areas, wildfires pose a greater threat than ever to people and property in our state,” said Hank Barge, field vice president for Allstate in California. “We urge all Californians, including our policyholders, to be aware of the threat and to take steps to protect themselves, their families and their homes.”

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