Californians who live in fire-susceptible areas can’t afford to play the odds by relying solely on firefighting efforts to save their homes. Be proactive and take action to help keep your home safe.
California is in a severe drought and recent statistics from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) show the number of fires and acres burned has significantly increased compared to the same time period last year. A dry climate, high temperatures and a spark are the perfect recipe for more wildfires, so Mercury Insurance encourages Californians to take the necessary steps to protect their homes and properties.
“Californians who live in fire-susceptible areas can’t afford to play the odds by relying solely on firefighting efforts to save their homes,” said Kelly Glover, director of personal property underwriting at Mercury Insurance. “Be proactive and take action to help keep your home safe.”
Mercury Insurance offers the following tips to help California homeowners prepare their homes and properties:
- Create defensible space of at least five feet around all structures. Increase this space to at least 30 feet if you live in a high risk wildfire area. Remove all buildup of pine needles and leaves from roofs, gutters and lawns. 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.
- Harden your home by replacing combustible exterior 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 should also have double-pane and tempered windows. Do not connect wood fences to your home. Place screens over vents to prevent embers from entering your home. California law requires a spark arrestor constructed of 12-gauge minimum 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.
- Make sure your street number is visible so emergency crews can quickly identify your home during an emergency.
Mercury also offers wildfire mitigation discounts to homeowners who proactively lower their risk.
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About Mercury Insurance
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information, visit www.mercuryinsurance.com or Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.
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