Windsor, Calif., June 18, 2019—Making a few modifications either to your home or business now can safeguard them from wildfires, according to insurance experts who today held a news conference at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Public Training Safety Center.
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recommends property owners take two key steps as 2019’s wildfire season approaches: maintain defensible space, or a “no-burn zone,” around a building’s perimeter and use wildfire-resistant building materials.
IBHS conducts extensive research on wildfires and the effects of traveling embers. Studies show up to 90 percent of homes destroyed by wildfire were ignited by embers landing on, or near, them.
“It’s all about the embers and making sure they have nothing combustible to land on,” said Daniel Gorham, P.E., wildfire researcher at IBHS. “It all comes down to maintenance and materials.”
Embers can fly for miles ahead of the wildfire front. If they get inside a home through vents or an open or broken window, or if they land on dead vegetation, dry wood, or common building materials near the home, they can ignite a new fire which can then consume that home and start a chain of fires within a neighborhood or community.
Residents are encouraged to take the following steps when protecting their home:
“Spending a modest amount of money now to prepare your home or business to withstand embers from wildfires can make all the difference when hot, dry, windy summer wildfires are the most extreme,” said Nicole Ganley, Senior Director at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA).
“Financial preparedness is as important as making structural safeguards,” said Janet Ruiz, Director of Strategic Communication, Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). “We recommend homeowners and business owners review their insurance coverage to make sure they can adequately rebuild and replace their properties in the event of a catastrophic loss.”
The I.I.I. says property owners should discuss with their insurance professional three key issues:
About APCIA: Representing nearly 60 percent of the U.S. property casualty insurance market, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) promotes and protects the viability of private competition for the benefit of consumers and insurers. APCIA represents the broadest cross-section of home, auto, and business insurers of any national trade association. APCIA members represent all sizes, structures, and regions, protecting families, communities, and businesses in the U.S. and across the globe.
About IBHS: Severe weather disrupts lives, displaces families, and drives financial loss. IBHS delivers top-tier science and translates it into action so we can inform the insurance industry, prevent avoidable suffering, strengthen our homes and businesses, and support thriving communities. Learn more at www.IBHS.org.
About I.I.I.: Established in 1960, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) is the premier independent resource on Property/Casualty and Life insurance. Created to educate consumers about the benefits and economic value insurance provides, the Institute supports its audiences with timely and objective news, research, and thought leadership to make insurance more accessible and useful.