Californians Urged to Prepare for Potentially Dangerous Fire Season

May 25, 2006

The Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) is urging Californians living in brush and mountainous areas to be prepared for what could be a particularly dangerous fire season later this year.

“It is believed that there will be above normal fire potential this year in many areas of the state due to the added vegetation growth caused by the heavy, late-season rains that hit California,” said ACIC President Sam Sorich. “As a result, homeowners are encouraged to begin preparing their property, establishing defensible space against potential wildfires.”

He explained there are several things homeowners can do inside and outside of their homes to increase the chance it will survive a wildfire.
On the inside, basic fire safety begins with checking the battery in the smoke detector, practicing fire drills with family members, making sure that burglar bars have quick release mechanisms and having working fire extinguishers handy.

Sorich said outside the home, safety in high fire hazardous areas begins with creating and maintaining clearance around the home – also known as defensible space.
•Most experts suggest that there be at least a 100-foot clearance between the home and all flammable vegetation.
•Keep trees trimmed at least 10 feet from the chimney and trim all dead limbs hanging over a house or garage.
•Maintain all plants by regularly watering and by removing dead branches, leaves and needles.
•This includes cleaning needles and leaves from the roof, eaves and rain gutters.
•Always follow proper guidelines for burning debris on your property, or when enjoying a campfire.

Sorich stressed that homeowners also should be prepared with adequate insurance in the event disaster does strike.

It is the homeowner’s responsibility for purchasing enough insurance. An insurance company or agent is available to assist homeowners in making that determination.

Should a home be damaged or destroyed, the policyholder should notify his or her insurer or agent as soon as possible. It is helpful in the claims process to have an inventory of personal items that are photographed or video taped in advance.

The Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) is an affiliate of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) and represents more than 300 property/casualty insurance companies doing business in California.

Source: ACIC

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