Wildfires are becoming more prevalent and destructive, leading to increased costs in property damage. According to Yale Climate Connections, in 2020, wildfires caused a whopping $16.5 billion in damages. California was affected the most, with over 4.2 million acres consumed by the fire and damaged 10,500 structures which claimed 31 lives. This made 2020 the third costliest year after 2017 with $24 billion and 2018 at $22 billion in wildfire damages. Statistically, the odds of having a wildfire in your area are high. In fact, according to U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Interagency Fire Center has recorded approximately 70,000 wildfires on average since 1983. Many people don’t realize how vulnerable their homes can be to wildfires, but it is crucial to take action before disaster strikes. Here are five ways you can protect your home by making it wildfire resilient.
Protect Roofing Materials
Fire-resistant roofing is a must. You can choose asphalt or clay tile materials for your home to keep it safe from fires. Spray foam works well as an additional measure in ensuring your roof stays intact.
You can apply a flame-check coating over your spray foam application. This prevents it from melting and burning away in case there is an accidental wildfire nearby.
Also, make sure your roof has a watertight seal. This is crucial to prevent flames from entering through the roof via chimneys and skylights. Seal up any gaps left open for ventilation.
Make Interior Walls Wildfire Resilient
To make your interior walls wildfire resistant, you can use fire-resistant drywall materials such as plaster-cement sheets (Type X), double-wall, ceramic-faced (Type X), and Steel Framing. Fire-resistant spray foam works well to stop the flow of flames from outside your house.
Consider switching from wall paneling to stone, brick, or concrete block that doesn’t contain wood. Any combustible objects and debris should also be cleared away.
Decks are the most vulnerable parts of your house when it comes to wildfire damage. If a wooden deck, make sure to use non-combustible materials for the support system. For example, use concrete and wood treated with fire-resistant substances. Non-wooden boards should also be avoided if possible.
A metal screen offers additional protection from flying sparks and embers that result in small fires. This metal screen acts as an added layer of protection around your deck’s perimeter without compromising the aesthetics.
When landscaping around the exterior of your home, avoid wild shrubs and trees like pine trees because they can all burn very quickly. Instead, opt for low-growing plants that need less water to reduce the chance of possible wildfires from starting near your property.
Windows Help Make Homes Wildfire Resilient
Windows are crucial for wildfires because they can act as an escape route for you and your family. However, often neglected are the screens that prevent flying embers from entering through the window openings.
To prevent damage from a wildfire, you should reinforce your windows by getting windows with safety glass panes, double pane, or triple pane reinforced glass.
You can also install a fire-resistant film to the outside of your window, which will reflect heat away from your home’s interior.
Insurance Plans You Can Utilize to Ensure Protection
Having an insurance cover in place is essential for protecting your home or business from wildfire damage and natural disasters. Make sure you take advantage of these plans:
- The NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) offers an extensive list of insurance plan options for homeowners, renters and businesses in areas prone to flooding and other natural disasters like earthquakes.
- Homeowners’ policy: Your homeowner’s policy can pay for damages caused by wildfires as long as you have enough comprehensive cover on your property. The amount of residue depends on what coverage amount you choose when purchasing this policy.
- Renter’s policy: A renters’ insurance can cover the loss of your personal property and living expenses if damage occurred to your home.
Get Insured With IMA Select
Wildfires are devastating natural disasters that can threaten your home and destroy everything you have. The best way to prevent them is by taking the above steps to make your house wildfire resilient. IMA Select is here to help you with your insurance needs. If you have any questions on what options you have for protecting your home from wildfires, please contact an IMA Select representative in your area.
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