Glad to hear some GOOD NEWS about fire mitigation and our fire insurance companies. Yes, you read that right. With the massive numbers of homes lost in the past few years and the haunting prospect that future years may be worse (climate change is here), fire insurance companies now realize that it is LESS EXPENSIVE FOR THEM TO PROTECT HOUSES FROM IMMINENT FIRES THAN TO REBUILD THE HOMES AND REPLACE THEIR CONTENTS.
What does that mean to us? Fire insurance companies are contracting Wildfire Defense Services (WDS) to protect the homes that they cover. When homes are in immediate danger of wildfires (usually when people have been evacuated), the WDS will try to do the following:
• Remove brush
• Turn off fuel sources
• Apply vent tape
• Spray fire blocking gel/retardant
• Close structure openings
The fire insurance companies know that there aren’t enough firefighters to protect every home in the line of a wildfire so they’re contracting WDS to do what they can to stave off wildfires around the homes that the insurance companies protect.
The best part of having WDS is that home owners can evacuate when needed knowing that trained professionals will be there to do things that the homeowners might do:
• Remove patio furniture
• Move stacks of firewood
• Clear pine needles and dead leaves within 5 feet of the home
• Cut down shrubs or trees
• Check gutters to remove combustible items
Check with your insurance company to see if they have contracted WDS for your home. However, in the event that there is a wildfire, there is no guarantee that there will be enough WDS personnel to protect your home and they may not do all of the services listed above. I have Travelers Insurance and they do contract with California WDS. They say you don’t need to call WDS, your insurance provider takes care of that.
The real take-away here is that the fire department doesn’t have the personnel to protect your home so you need to do preventative work now. Clear all combustible items at least 5 feet from your house and limb up trees and cut down weeds up to 100 feet from your house.
We can do this!