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How To Keep Your Home Safe From California Wildfires

How To Keep Your Home Safe From California Wildfires

Living in California definitely has its benefits: the constant sunshine, the sublime weather and the beautiful people. However, one of the risks that come with California life is wildfires. Don’t let these disasters destroy your home. Here’s everything you need to know about how to keep your home safe from California wildfires.

Secure Your Property’s Perimeter

One of the biggest dangers for a house catching fire during brush or wildfires is something within close proximity catching alight. To ensure your house is protected, set up a perimeter around your home where no flammable materials are kept. According to Michelle Steinberg, director of the National Fire Prevention Agency’s (NFPA) Wildfire Division, “From the fire’s point of view, if it’s attached to or touching the house, it’s part of the house.”

She recommends moving firewood stores, propane canisters and other flammable materials at least 30 feet away from your home. The same goes for any left-over materials from building projects that may be lying around. Really, anything that is flammable should be kept as far away as possible.

Keep a Defendable Space

According to Steinberg, houses at risk of wildfires or brushfires live within a “home ignition zone.” This is a zone of combustion which extends roughly 200 feet from your actual house. The “home ignition zone” can be further divided into three separate sections, all of which you must address to give your house the best chance of survival:

  • Immediate - Zero to five feet from the home: Clean your roof and gutters, replacing any missing shingles which could allow fire embers to penetrate into the house. Repair or replace loose window screens to prevent embers from entering the house. Remove any debris or flammable materials from the home.
  • Intermediate – Five to 30 feet from your home: Clear any brush or vegetation under propane tanks. Keep any grass or vegetation under a height of four inches. Ensure there are no mature tree canopies within ten feet of your home.
  • Extended – 30 to 100 feet from your home: Remove all loose debris and materials. Remove any small trees or vegetation between mature trees and keep 12 feet between mature tree canopies.

Keep Fire Embers at Bay

As noted above, one of the most important things you can do for your home is to keep embers from a fire from penetrating your home’s defenses. This can be accomplished by replacing any broken or loose-fitting screens on your windows. By replacing the screens, you can prevent embers from entering through the windows and potentially setting carpets, curtains or other materials alight.

By installing double-paned or tempered glass, you can also help reduce your home’s weakness from wildfires. The intense heat of fires may cause plastic windows to melt, or single paned ones to crack or shatter. Double-paned glass has a much greater chance of surviving these intense temperatures, thanks to their tempered composition.

Fireproof Your Roof

According to fire scientist Jack Cohen, “A flammable roof will make the difference of your house being destroyed and not being destroyed, regardless of what else you do.” He suggests replacing your flammable roof with one constructed from non-flammable materials, like metal, asphalt or tile. In addition, you should ensure that there are no broken or missing shingles or tiles, as these create openings for embers to enter the home, igniting it from within.

Get the Best Insurance for Your Home

One of the best ways to protect your home from California wildfires is to get the best possible insurance policy. At Insurance Online, customers can compare hundreds of quotes – and not just from the big providers – 24/7, any time.

We’re more than just an insurance company. Our agents live and work in the same communities as you, so you can be assured you’ll get the right policy from someone that understands your needs. So, when life happens, Insurance Online is just a click away. Contact us today at (800) 313-8013 for home coverage.

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Sandra Cruz | Linkedin

Based in Newport Beach, CA, Sandra has been a licensed insurance agent in California and Texas for 5 years and is an editor and writer specializing in all types of insurance matters. Sandra is Insurance Online's authority on auto, home, and business insurance and has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, and US World News Report.

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