LOS ANGELES, Calif. (August 20, 2012) – Seven wildfires are spreading across Nevada and the largest, the Holloway fire, has already burned more than 435,000 acres. Firefighters are clearing vegetation to stop advancing flames, but the wildfire, which began August 5, is still uncontained.
Mercury Insurance is reminding policyholders that they can report wildfire-related claims 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Mercury claims hotline at (800) 503-3724.
“Our focus is to assist Nevada homeowners as quickly as possible during this difficult situation,” said Joanna Moore, Mercury Insurance chief claims officer. “Whether it’s providing living expenses or facilitating claims, our team of customer advocates is committed to getting Mercury policyholders’ lives back to normal.”
Mercury Insurance has compiled important wildfire tips to help protect your property:
· Create a fire buffer zone of at least 30 feet around houses. Increase this space to 50 feet if you live in a high wildfire risk area. Remove all buildup of needles and leaves from roofs and gutters. Keep tree limbs cut back at least 10 feet from chimneys and remove dry limbs overhanging the home and garage. Finally, plant native fire resistant plants and create low fuel hardscapes.
· Replace exterior flammable materials on homes with siding and roofs that have at least a fire-resistance rating of one to two hours. Fire-retardant roof materials such as tile are recommended. Exterior home walls should be built with materials like stucco or brick and have double-pane and tempered windows. Do not connect wood fences to your home and place screens over vents to prevent embers from entering your home. Install a spark arrestor constructed of least 12-gauge welded or woven wire mesh screen with openings no larger than a half-inch over your chimney outlet.
· Move flammable and combustible items at least 50 feet from your home. Firewood, outdoor patio furniture, picnic tables, boats, propane tanks, etc., should be clear of homes and other structures.
· Keep irrigation systems in working order. Check hoses and sprinkler systems to ensure proper functionality and coverage of your entire home, including roofs and exterior structure walls. Have a ladder available to access roofs.
· Pools can serve as a water source for fighting fires. Have your pool accessible for fire engines to get within 10 feet. Pumps with suction hoses that reach the bottom of the pool can also be used.
· Have your home address visible from the street so emergency crews can quickly identify your home during an emergency.
These and other helpful tips for what to do during a wildfire – as well as fire kits for the home – are available at www.mercuryinsurance.com/insurance-products/insurance-tips.html. Additional details can be found at www.fire.ca.gov and www.firewise.org. Check your local ordinances for fire preparation guidelines.
ABOUT MERCURY INSURANCE (www.mercuryinsurance.com)
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization offering predominantly personal automobile and homeowners insurance through a network of independent agents and brokers in Nevada, California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, New York, Georgia, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices since 1962 – core values that distinguish Mercury in the marketplace.