Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (503) 465-6800/(800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo
Elum wildfire a grim reminder to take action and evaluate
SEATTLE - A wildfire raging in the Cle Elum area has burned
an estimated 26,000 acres and destroyed 60 homes, according
to fire officials. Tuesday morning the fire was uncontained
and continued to threaten structures and properties. The devastation
is a grim reminder for homeowners and business owners at risk
of wildfire to take action to protect your properties and
make sure you have adequate insurance.
"The loss of life and property from wildfires is tragic,"
said Karl Newman, president of the NW Insurance Council. "The
good news is that wildfire is covered by Home and Business
Insurance policies and you can reduce your risk dramatically
by taking simple precautions."
In 2011, 993 fires burned 17,480 acres in Washington, according
to the National
Interagency Fire Center. Nationally, wildfires scorched
more than 8 million acres and caused $855 million in insured
Weather reports for the week expect continued hot and arid
conditions, giving property and business owners reason to
be concerned. NW Insurance Council offers tips to help residents
protect their families and businesses:
- Defensible Spacing- Clear brush 30 to 100 feet from your
home. Keep your yard well groomed and watered and remove
old stumps and weak or diseased trees from your property.
Create a buffer zone by landscaping with fire-resistant
plants. Contact your local utility company if you notice
tree branches touching power lines.
- Review your insurance policy - Contact a representative
from your insurance company or your insurance agent to be
sure you have the right coverage to meet your needs. Make
sure you have the appropriate amount of insurance, especially
if you've recently made additions to your home.
- Fireproof your rooftop - The roof is the most vulnerable
part of your home when it comes to fires. Replace wood-shake
roofs with less flammable material, when possible. Keep
roofs and gutters clear of needles and leaves.
- Home exterior precautions - Install screens on chimneys,
stovepipes and attic openings. Trim trees that overhang
the home to prevent fire in trees from easily spreading
to the roof of the house. Keep flammable materials like
fuel tanks at least 30 feet away from the home.
- Be accessible and visible - Make sure your house number
is visible from the street. If firefighters can't find you,
they can't help you.
- Home interior precautions - Consider installing a home
sprinkler system. Replace batteries in smoke detectors in
every room of your home at least twice each year.
- Develop an emergency preparedness plan - Gather and store
a three-day supply of food and water, First Aid supplies,
flashlights and a portable radio.
- Maintain a complete home inventory - Keep copies of contracts
and receipts of your personal possessions in a safe place
outside of your home. Take pictures or video of your belongings.
Your home inventory can help you and your adjuster settle
your claim if your home is damaged or destroyed by wildfire.
Free, downloadable Home
Inventory Software is available on the Insurance Information
To learn more about safeguarding your home and business from
wildfire, The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety
(IBHS) offers a free Wildfire
Retrofit Guide for the Pacific Northwest. Also, order
a free copy of NW Insurance
Council's brochure, Firestorm - Northwest Wildfires: Protect
Yourself by calling (800) 664-4942 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education
organization funded by member insurance companies serving
Washington, Oregon and Idaho.