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TMCNet:  Severe Drought Conditions Lead to Early Start of Summer Wildfire Season across Western U.S.

[May 27, 2014]

Severe Drought Conditions Lead to Early Start of Summer Wildfire Season across Western U.S.

NOVATO, Calif. --(Business Wire)--

Fireman's Fund's Risk Services Team encourages homeowners to take action to prepare and protect their property due to hot temperatures and severe drought conditions throughout much of the Western U.S. reported by the National Interagency Fire Center.

Earlier this month California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued a proclamation urging Californians to get prepared for wildfires, declaring May 4-10, 2014 as 'Wildfire Awareness Week' in the state. Brown's proclamation stated that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has already responded to a 120 percent increase in wildfires this year caused by drought conditions. He told ABC's "This Week" that the state has 5,000 firefighters and has appropriated $600 million to battling blazes, but that may not be enough in the future.

Fireman's Fund is in alignment with the fire service philosophy of prevention and mitigation as the best approach in lowering risks from wildfires. Risk services consultants, who live and work in the wildland urban interface where wildfires typically strike, are trained to recognize wildfire risks and offer solutions to make a home and family better prepared. They perform on-site wildfire risk assessments of policyholders' homes and educate, bring insight and offer advice to take preventative action.

With this annual threat of wildfire season posing serious dangers to lives and property, it is important to think now about fire prevention and safety," said Kathleen Stalter, risk services wildfire specialist, Fireman's Fund. "There are several important measures people can take to make sure their homes and families are protected."

Stalter provides these tips to protect homes from wildfire dangers like flying embers - known to be as destructive to homes as the flames. Embers can attack a home far from the actul spot of the wildfire.

  • Family Safety: designate one emergency meeting place outside the home, and one outside your neighborhood, where family can safely meet in an emergency.
  • Create defensible space around your home and property using fire resistant landscaping materials.
  • Remove debris that accumulates in gutters and at roof-to-wall intersections such as dormers and chimneys.
  • Use fire-resistant building materials for your home and near-by structures.
  • Install ember/flame resistant vents and close all windows and doors in the event of a wildfire. Windblown embers can enter a home through vents and ignite the home from within. All vent openings should be protected by 1/8 inch metal mesh or baffle style covers to prevent ember intrusion.
  • Roof: The roof is a landing strip for windblown embers. Remove any overhanging tree and vine branches. Clean all leaves and other vegetative debris from your roof and rain gutters.
  • Windows: dual-paned windows with an exterior pane of tempered glass reduce the chance of breakage in a fire.
  • Decks/Balconies: enclose the underside with fire-resistant materials to prevent embers from blowing underneath. Keep deck clear of combustible items.
  • Yard: stack woodpiles at least 30 feet away from all structures, and clear away combustible vegetation within 10 feet of woodpiles. Remove all stacks of construction materials, pine needles, leaves and other debris from yard.

More info is located on Fireman's Fund's Risk Advisor website: http://disasteradvisor.ffido.com/content/wildfire-preparedness-your-home-family

About Fireman's Fund Insurance Company

Founded in 1863, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company recently celebrated its 150th anniversary as a premier property and casualty insurance company providing personal and commercial insurance products backed by industry-leading claims and risk management solutions. Fireman's Fund is a leader in high net worth, entertainment, and green insurance. Since 2004, the company has donated more than $31 million in grants to local fire departments across the U.S. as part of its commitment to safer communities. Fireman's Fund is a member of the Allianz Group, one of the world's largest providers of property and casualty insurance, ranked 31st on Fortune's Global 500 list of the world's largest corporations. For additional information, visit www.firemansfund.com.

© 2014 Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, Novato, CA (News - Alert) 94928


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