Unfortunately, Coloradans are no strangers to the dangers and devastation of wildfires. However, there are many resources that can help you prepare.
Prepare for the event of an actual fire, and a possible evacuation, long before it actually happens. Keep your home and property properly maintained to help ensure that it’s as safe as possible.
Fire Safety Resources
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), recognized as the “leading information and knowledge resource on fire, electrical, and related hazards,” has developed an informative online course that could save your home in the event of a wildfire. Their research reveals that the main cause of a home ignition during such a fire is its escaping embers and small flames—which can mean the difference between a home’s destruction and its survival.
Below, we share some important tips from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the American Red Cross to help you prepare your home and property before a fire threat is imminent. These resources include instructions for what to do during and after a fire, as well. (The Red Cross also has a fun app called Monster Guard, to help kids in grades 2-6 learn how to stay safe in emergencies.)
Prepare a Safety Zone Around Your Home
Establish a zone of at least 100 feet around your home. This can help slow—and hopefully stop—the spread of a nearby fire onto your property. These tips can help:
- Rake and remove leaves, dead limbs and twigs, and clear all flammable vegetation.
- Thin a 15-foot space between treetops and remove limbs within 15 feet of the ground.
- Remove dead branches that extend over the roof, and ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
- Store gasoline, oily rags, and other flammable materials in approved safety cans, and place them away from your home.
- Stack firewood at least 100 feet away and keep combustible material 20 feet away from the wood pile.
- Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well, or swimming pool.
- Set aside household items that you can use as fire tools before emergency responders arrive. This may include a rake, ax, hand saw or chainsaw, bucket and shovel.
- Regularly clean roofs and gutters. Make sure roof shingles are in good repair.
- Keep a garden hose that is long enough to reach all areas of your home and other structures.
- Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked, so fire vehicles can get to your home.
Fire Evacuation Planning and Checklist
- If conditions are developing for a possible fire event near your home, stay informed via live TV, radio, or other communications.
- Prepare an evacuation/first aid kit.
- Keep valuable papers together in a file or notebook where you can remove them quickly.
- Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
- Confine pets to one room, so you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
- Make arrangements for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area in case you need to evacuate.
- Wear protective clothing when outside: sturdy shoes, cotton or wool clothes, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face.
- Disconnect any automatic garage door openers so that doors can still be opened by hand if the power goes out, but keep the door closed.
- Move flammable furniture, drapes and other articles into the center of the residence, away from the windows and sliding-glass doors.
One of the most important matters to take care of long before a fire threat is to review (and possibly update) your home insurance policy. If you haven’t already done so, create or update an inventory of your home’s contents.
Protect Your Home Against Fire with Farm Bureau Insurance
At Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance, we offer several types of homeowners insurance policies with various coverage options. While most of our homeowners insurance policies offer similar basic coverage choices, you can adjust the amount and specifics of the coverage you need.
Our coverages include protection for:
- Your home
- Other structures (any buildings on your property that are separate or detached from your primary residence)
- Personal property
- Personal liability
- Medical payments for others
- Loss of use, i.e., if your home is damaged by a covered loss and deemed unlivable, you will be covered for the cost of living in another place while your home is repaired, plus additional living expenses.
Optional additional coverages include personal property protection, for items like jewelry, guns, fine art, silverware, computer equipment, and other items.
Last year, Colorado experienced the biggest wildfires in our state’s history. The Cameron Peak fire burned for months, caused mandatory evacuations, and destroyed over a hundred structures and residences. Fires can be devastating, so ensure you are as prepared as possible for them. Make sure your property is insured against fires with a quality home insurance policy from Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance.
Get started by contacting a local agent through our Agent Finder.