Hot, dry weather in the Pacific Northwest increases the potential
of wildfires. To help Northwest residents prepare for possible wildfires,
NW Insurance Council recommends the following safety measures to protect
lives and minimize losses.
- Find your fire district. Make sure there is a legally responsible
fire protection agency in your area before you purchase a home,
and if you live in an area that is unprotected by a fire protection
agency, start or join a community effort to build your own community
- Inside the home, make sure every room has a smoke detector and
each is tested monthly. Replace the batteries in smoke detectors
once a year. Usually, the best time to change the batteries is
when you change your clock times in the fall and the spring.
- Maintain a home inventory of all of your possessions, including
descriptions and serial numbers, if any, and keep this list
(or video) in a safe location away from your home, such as in
a safety deposit box. NW Insurance Council offers a free, downloadable
inventory software from the Insurance Information Institute.
- Keep fire extinguishers in accessible places, and make sure
they are properly charged and that each family member knows how
to use them. To protect your interior possessions from damage
due to the radiant heat of an external fire, consider installing
protective shutters and fire resistant drapes.
- Landscape against fire. Clear brush from 30 to 100 feet or more
from your home and keep your yard groomed and well watered. Remove
old stumps and weak or diseased trees from your property. If you
notice tree branches touching power lines, contact your local
utility company. Move propane, oil and other fuel tanks as far
away from any structure as possible and surround them with 10
feet of clearance.
- Fireproof the roof. Your roof is the most vulnerable part of
your home because it can easily catch fire from wind-blown sparks.
It's highly recommended that you build or re-roof with fire-resistive
roofing materials and be sure to clear pine needles, leaves or
other debris from your roof or gutters. Additionally, install
screens on chimneys, stove pipes, roof or attic openings and unenclosed
porches and decks.
- Be sure your house number can be seen from the street. If firefighters
can't find you, they can't help you. And, make sure the access
to your property is at least 15 feet wide and clear of bushy shrubs
and overhanging trees, as fire trucks are tall and wide.
These are just a few of the tips that can help you protect your
family and possessions and give your home a chance to withstand
a wildfire. For additional information, contact your local emergency
management office or fire department.
Reducing Wildfire Risk (Insurance Institute
for Business & Home Safety)