Wildfire Preparedness: Steps to Stay Safe

Wildfires can swiftly escalate, often beginning unnoticed and rapidly expanding. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) highlights that wind-driven embers are a primary factor in building ignitions during wildfires, surpassed only by direct flame contact and radiant heat. Living in wildfire-prone regions, like British Columbia and Alberta, demands proactive measures to safeguard your home, family, and assets. Here’s a guide to preparing for wildfire situations.

Home Readiness for Wildfires

Ensure gutters are free from debris that could catch fire. Trim overhanging tree branches. Check that smoke detectors are functional and that fire extinguishers are ready for use. If there’s a chance of a hasty upper-floor evacuation, ensure escape ladders are in place and easily deployable.

Landscaping for Fire-Resistance

Opt for fire-resistant flora in your gardens and landscaping. Though no plants are entirely “fire-proof,” some are more resistant. Examples include rockrose, ice plants, aloe, hedging roses, bush honeysuckles, currant, cotoneaster, sumac, and shrub apples. Ground cover like rock, stone, and crushed concrete can act as firebreaks.

Defensible Zones

Maintain clear spaces between natural growth and structures. Store wood stacks away from the home. Particularly on hillsides, extend this defensible space since fires can climb rapidly.

Preparation Measures

Assemble an emergency kit, devise an evacuation blueprint, and inventory your belongings. Consider upgrading your home with fire-resistant materials like non-flammable roofing, decking, siding, and fire-rated window treatments.

Wildfire Proximity Alerts

Stay updated with local news regarding wildfires and heed official evacuation directives. Natural Resources Canada offers an interactive map detailing large wildfire incidents.

Emergency Drills

Familiarize your family with evacuation procedures. Decide on a rendezvous point and a contact number for check-ins during separation.

Immediate Precautions

If possible, close all windows, doors, and shutters. Switch off utilities and prepare your vehicle for immediate departure. Ensure it’s fuelled up, keys are accessible, and windows are shut to block smoke.

During a Wildfire

If evacuation is recommended, don’t delay. Wear ember-protective attire and carry a damp cloth for facial protection. Adhere to your evacuation plan, ensuring everyone is aware of the protocol.

Post-Wildfire Procedures

Only return home when given the go-ahead by officials. Beware of re-ignition risks and inspect your property for hotspots, embers, or sparks for several days post-fire. Safely dispose of food or medicine that might have been exposed to fire or smoke.

Ongoing Protection with Insurance Coverage

Knowing your home is protected when a wildfire breaks out eases a bit of stress during an emergency situation. Learn more about the protection we offer and get a quote from your home insurance broker today.

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