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What we do Nationwide Wildfire Support Services
XPressGuards is the #1 wildfire support company in the United States. With over 600 offices, we offer 24/7 wildfire support services in all 50 states.
Prepare For Wildfires
We’ll help you create and maintain a defensible space of 100 feet around your home. You can also protect your home by using ember-resistant building materials. We offer custom disaster supply kits, and we’ll create a communication and evacuation strategy for your family.
If you live in a wildfire-prone area, you must use all equipment with caution. Lawn mowers, weed eaters, welders, and trimmers are all capable of starting a fire. Learn how, when, and what to burn in a safe manner. We’ll also help you prevent wildfires caused by vehicles.
Many dangers remain after a wildfire. Those returning home should be aware of their surroundings and go over our provided checklist. Another issue to be concerned about after a wildfire is the increased rate of erosion and flooding. Contact us to get started.
Create a Wildfire Acting Plan
Before a wildfire, make sure your Wildfire Action Plan is ready and that all members of your home are familiar with it. Use the checklist below, or let us assist you in developing a strategy. Each family’s plan will be unique, based on a variety of issues, needs, and circumstances.
Inquire with friends or relatives who live outside your area if you would be able to stay with them if the need arrises. If you do need to evacuate and plan to stay with friends or relatives, first ask if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have people in their home who are at higher risk of serious illness. Make alternative plans if this is the case.
Check to see if any hotels, motels, or campgrounds are open. Get ready by learning about your community’s disaster response plan for each disaster and determining if these plans have been modified as a result of COVID-19.
Create a Wildfire Action Plan Checklist That Includes:
- A designated emergency meeting location that is not in the path of a fire or hazard. This is essential for determining who has safely evacuated the affected area.
- A variety of escape routes from your home and community. Practice these frequently so that everyone in your family is familiar with them in case of an emergency.
- Prepare an evacuation plan for pets and large animals like horses and livestock.
- A Family Communication Plan that names an out-of-town friend or relative as a point of contact to serve as a single point of contact for family members in the event of separation. It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than it is to try to call everyone during a disaster when phone, cell, and internet systems may be overloaded or limited.
- Keep fire extinguishers handy and teach your family how to use them (check expiration dates regularly).
- Make sure your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are and how to safely turn them off in an emergency.
- Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for each family member, as recommended by the American Red Cross.
- Keep a list of emergency phone numbers near your phone and in your emergency supply kit.
- Keep an extra Emergency Supply Kit in your car in case you are unable to get to your home due to a fire or other emergency.
- Bring a portable radio or scanner to stay up to date on the fire.
- Inform your neighbors of your Wildfire Action Plan.
Keep The Following Six “P’s” on Hand in Case an Immediate Evacuation is Required:
- People and pets
- Paperwork, phone numbers, and vital documents
- Prescriptions, vitamins, and corrective lenses
- Pictures and irreplaceable mementos
- Personal computer disks and hard drives
- Plastic (credit cards, ATM cards)
Years of Experience
Wildfire Support Services Frequently Asked Questions
Defensible space, in conjunction with home hardening, is critical for increasing your home’s chances of surviving a wildfire. The buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surrounds it is known as defensible space. This space is required to slow or stop the spread of wildfires, as well as to protect your home from catching fire due to embers, direct flame contact, or radiant heat. Proper defensible space also provides firefighters with a safe working environment in which to defend your home.
Defensible Space Zones
Zones 1 and 2 currently make up the required 100 feet of defensible space. Assembly Bill 3074, which became law in 2020, calls for a third zone for defensible space. By January 1, 2023, the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection must develop regulations for a new ember-resistant zone (Zone 0) within 0 to 5 feet of the home. Within a 100-foot radius of your home, the intensity of wildfire fuel management varies, with more intense fuel reduction occurring closer to your home. Begin at your house and work your way out to 100 feet or your property line, whichever is closest.
The spacing between grass, shrubs, and trees is critical for limiting wildfire spread. The type and size of brush and trees, as well as the slope of the land, determine the required spacing. A property on a steep slope, for example, with larger vegetation, necessitates more space between trees and shrubs than a level property with small, sparse vegetation.
Allow for additional vertical space between shrubs and trees. A lack of vertical space can allow a fire to move like a ladder from the ground to the brush to the treetops. As a result, the fire becomes more intense closer to your home.
Proper wildfire landscaping is not always synonymous with a well-kept yard. This type of landscaping focuses on plant characteristics, properties, and maintenance in order to prevent fires from spreading to your home.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your landscape more resistant to wildfires and lower the risk to your home. Water can be saved and a beautiful landscape can be created with proper planning and routine maintenance.
In most cases, your home is your most valuable asset. Keep it safe. Insurance is a critical backup plan that allows you to rebuild your home following a wildfire. Federal disaster assistance is insufficient to rebuild a home. Make sure your family has a financial safety net in place in case of a disaster. Follow the advice in the following sections:
1: Perform an annual insurance check-up
Annually, contact your agent or insurance company to review your policy limits and coverage. Check that your policy accurately reflects the square footage and features of your home. Consider purchasing coverage for building code upgrades.
2: Understand What Your Policy Covers
The particulars are important. Determine whether you have a replacement cost policy that pays to replace all of your items at current market value or an actual cash value policy that accounts for depreciation and pays less for older items.
3: Expand Your Policy to Include Home Improvements
If you make changes to your home, contact your insurance agent or company to update your coverage. Make sure your insurer is aware of the changes so that the new countertops, floors, or room are covered if you are forced to rebuild.
4: Keep your insurance current.
Maintain homeowner insurance even if your house is paid off. Do you have enough money to rebuild your home if you don’t have insurance? Check with loved ones who have paid off their mortgages to ensure they still have homeowner insurance.
5: Purchase Renters Insurance
Renters may lose everything in a fire and be forced to start from scratch. Many insurers offer low-cost renters insurance packages in conjunction with auto insurance policies.
Prepare your emergency supply kit well in advance of a wildfire or other disaster, and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you if you need to evacuate. Make arrangements to be away from home for an extended period of time. Everyone should have an emergency supply kit on hand.
Backpacks are convenient for storing these items (except food and water) and are easy to access. Food and water can be transported more easily if they are stored in a tub or chest on wheels. Maintain a light enough weight that you can lift it into your car.
Checklist for an Emergency Supply Kit
- Face masks or coverings
- Three days’ worth of nonperishable food and three gallons of water per person
- Face masks or coverings
- Requirements for prescriptions or special medications
- Additional eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Change of clothing
- A spare set of keys, credit cards, cash, or traveler’s checks
- First-aid kit
- Battery-powered radio (with spare batteries)
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of critical documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Don’t forget to bring pet food and water
Items to bring if time permits:
- Valuables that are easily transported
- Family photos and other priceless possessions
- Personal computer data stored on hard drives and disks.
- Chargers for cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices
Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of an unexpected nighttime evacuation.
SRA is an abbreviation for State Responsibility Area. If you live in a State Responsibility Area (SRA), you are responsible for ensuring that your property complies with California building and fire codes, which require homeowners to take proactive measures to protect their property from wildfires.
California law requires homeowners in SRAs to clear flammable materials such as brush or vegetation from 100 feet (or the property line) around their buildings to create a defensible space buffer. This slows the spread of a wildfire and keeps firefighters safe while they defend your home.
The law also requires that new homes be built with fire-resistant materials. By using fire-resistant roofing, enclosed eaves, and dual-paned windows when building your home, you are hardening it and giving it a fighting chance of surviving a wildfire.
By abiding by the law, you can help prevent buildings from being ignited by flying embers, which can travel up to a mile from a wildfire.
Check with your local fire station for local laws, as many local jurisdictions may have more stringent requirements. In San Diego County, for example, the first and second zones in Defensible Space are 50 feet and 50 feet, respectively, whereas elsewhere it is only 30 feet and 70 feet.
Direct flames from a wildfire or a burning neighboring home; radiant heat from nearby burning plants or structures; and flying embers are the three ways your home can be exposed to wildfire. Wildfire embers can destroy homes up to a mile away and are responsible for the destruction of the majority of homes during a wildfire.
Here are a few ideas for hardening your home and making it more fire resistant:
- Use materials such as composition, metal, clay, or tile to build or re-roof your roof. To prevent embers from catching, fill any gaps between the roof decking and the covering.
- Remove any vegetative debris that has accumulated on the roof.
- Use 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch metal mesh to cover all vent openings. Because fiberglass and plastic mesh can melt and burn, they should not be used.
- Utilize Ember and flame-retardant vents.
- Install dual-paned windows with one tempered glass pane to reduce the possibility of breakage in a fire.
- Think about limiting the size and number of windows that face densely forested areas.
- Install screens in all usable windows to reduce radiant heat exposure and increase ember resistance.
- Use ignition resistant* building materials, such as stucco, fiber cement wall siding, fire retardant, treated wood, or other approved materials, when constructing or remodeling your walls. This is especially important when neighboring homes are less than 30 feet away.
- Ensure that materials are extended from the foundation to the roof.
- In smaller spaces, such as the roof-to-wall area, siding should be replaced with a noncombustible material.
Use a non-flammable screen to protect your chimney and stovepipe outlets. To prevent embers from escaping and starting a fire, use metal screen material with openings no smaller than 3/8-inch and no larger than 1/2-inch. When the chimney is not in use during the fire season, close the fireplace flue.
In case of a fire, keep a fire extinguisher and tools such as a shovel, rake, bucket, and hose nearby.
- Add a battery backup to the garage door motor so that it can be operated even if the power goes out.
- Install weather stripping around and under the garage door to keep embers out.
- Keep all combustible and flammable liquids away from sources of ignition.
- Treat windows and vents in the garage as if they were a part of the house.
XPresssGuards is the largest full service wildfire support company in the United States. Our wildfire support services are available 24/7. Call or message XPressGuards now to get started!
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