Before wildfire strikes, it is important that you get Set. Prepare yourself and your home for the possibility of having to evacuate. There are three main preparation actions that should be completed and familiar to all members of your household long in advance of a wildfire.
Create a Wildfire Action Plan
Your Wildfire Action Plan Checklist
Create an evacuation plan that includes:
- A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area.
- Several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
- Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
A Family Communication Plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.)
Remember the six “P’s”
Keep these six “P’s” ready in case immediate evacuation is required:
- People and pets
- Papers, phone numbers, & important documents
- Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
- Pictures and irreplaceable memoribilia
- Personal computer hard drive and disks
- “Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash
Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit
Put together your emergency supply kit long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate.
Emergency Supply Kit Checklist:
Items to take if time allows:
- Easily carried valuables
- Family photos and other irreplaceable items
- Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
- Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.
For more information on emergency supply kits, visit: https://www.ready.gov/kit
Protect What is Important to You
Get Your Finances and Property Ready for Wildfires
Tip 1: Conduct an Annual Insurance Check-Up
Call your agent or insurance company annually to discuss your policy limits and coverage.
Tip 2: Know What Your Policy Covers
Understand if you have a replacement cost policy that pays to replace all your items at the current market price.
Tip 3: Update Your Policy to Cover Home Improvements
Call your agent or insurance company to make sure your home improvements are included in your coverage.
Tip 4: Maintain Insurance
If your home is paid off, be sure to maintain homeowner’s insurance. Without insurance, you are responsible to pay for the rebuilding of your home and the replacement of all items lost to a fire.
Tip 5: Get Renters Insurance
Like homeowners, renters can lose everything in a fire and be left to start over. Renter’s insurance will replace personal items, furniture and other valuables lost in a fire.
Learn useful resources and tools to build financial safety nets for disaster resilience.
Visit United Policyholders (UP), a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization, whose mission is to be a trustworthy and useful information resource and an effective voice for consumers of all types of insurance in all 50 states.
Make a Home Inventory
Recovery is easier if you have an accurate home inventory. Document the contents of your home before a fire occurs. Use your smartphone to video your belongings. Keep your inventory & photos stored outside the home or in the cloud.
Tip 1: Video or photograph each room of your home
Remember to document drawers and closets.
Tip 2: Describe your home’s contents in your video
Mention the price you paid, where and when you bought the item.
Tip 3: Remember to note important or expensive items
Video your electronics, appliances, sports equipment, TVs, computers, tablets.
Tip 4: Save receipts for major purchases
Store key documents in the cloud or in a fireproof case. Keep home inventory off-site or in the cloud.
Tip 5: Video the Garage
Don’t forget to video or photograph what is inside your garage.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC): Download the Home Inventory Smart Phone Application (Available in the Apple Store & Google Play) – this App makes it easy to create a record of all your belongings, including the ability to scan barcodes and upload photos of your items.