Wildfires can pose particular dangers because they often begin unnoticed and can spread quickly, threatening both lives and property in their paths.
If you live in an area prone to wildfires, you can help keep yourself, your family and your property safe by taking steps to reduce your risks.
Well before a wildfire threatens
- Keep your home well maintained by regularly cleaning your gutters and trimming tree limbs that may be too close to your home. Be sure your smoke alarms are working, fire extinguishers are operational and a home escape ladder is accessible if you need to evacuate quickly from an upper floor.
- Landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind, using fire-resistant shrubs and trees.
- Maintain a defensible space zone between structures and natural growth that is free of brush, trees and grasses to help keep a wildfire from getting too close to your property. If you live on a hill, extend that zone on the downhill side, since fire can race uphill quickly.
- Prepare a survival kit, map out an evacuation plan and create a home inventory of all your belongings. Visit our preparedness timeline to learn more about disaster planning.
- If you are remodeling your home, think about including fire-resistant materials such as non-combustible roofing and siding and fire-rated glass or fire shutters for windows.
When a wildfire approaches
- Stay tuned to local news about wildfires in the area, and follow evacuation instructions given by local officials.
- Review emergency plans with your family. Be sure to designate a meeting place and a check-in telephone number if you are separated during evacuation. Also make certain that everyone has emergency numbers stored in their phones.
- If you have time, close windows, doors and blinds and shut off utilities. Open the fireplace damper and close fireplace screens.
- Have your car ready to leave at a moment’s notice and keep the keys handy. Roll up the windows to keep smoke out.
What to do during a wildfire
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Wear protective clothing, such as a long- sleeved cotton or wool shirt and pants, and take a wet cotton towel or handkerchief to protect your face.
- Take your survival kit and choose a route away from fire and smoke. Follow your evacuation plan and be sure everyone knows where to go and what to do.
How to respond after a wildfire
- Check with fire officials before attempting to re-enter your home. Use caution when entering since fires can re-ignite quickly, even after dying down.
- Discard any food or medication that came in contact with smoke or fire.
At Travelers, we understand that a wildfire can be a frightening and dangerous event. We hope our expertise and insight will help you protect your family and property no matter what comes your way. For more wildfire safety tips, visit the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety® website.