Wildfires have claimed the homes of hundreds of thousands of people in North America over the past few years, particularly on the western seaboard throughout the United States and Canada. These events have left many people wondering how to protect their homes.
While the main objective during a wildfire should always be to get everyone out alive, the loss of a home can be devastating. Here are some of the ways you can protect your house from a wildfire.
Get Enough Insurance
Insurance isn’t just an excellent way to protect your goods; it’s a necessity. Not only do you need to have insurance, but you must get enough to cover a rebuild. According to research, too many people discovered inadequate insurance during the California wildfires and are now involved in an extensive lawsuit to get what they need to rebuild.
Insurance won’t bring back the pictures and memories you lose during a fire. It won’t cover the emotional trauma you experience or the wide range of emotions about the loss. It will, however, allow you to focus on the emotional devastation to begin to move forward, rather than being homeless and financially devastated as well.
Fireproof Your Roof and Siding
One of the main ways fire travels is through embers and sparks catching on flammable objects, notably a neighboring roof. This is why it’s wise to consider a metal roof if you live in an area where forest fires frequently occur.
You should also look at flame resistant materials for your siding, rather than wood. Vinyl siding can melt, but it won’t ignite into flames, whereas cedar siding will. Of course, depending on the size and proximity of the fire, these things might not make a difference. However, if a fire blows in a few miles away, it protects your house against potentially devastating embers.
Create a Boundary Clear of Debris
Try to keep debris a minimum of 30 feet from your house. This includes scrub brushes, outdoor woodpiles, trees, etc. If you can, stretch this boundary line further. Not only does this keep anything that could ignite away from your house, but it also creates a safe area in which firefighters can work to put out a flame. The quicker they can respond and get to work, the more likely your home will be safe.
Many people opt to install sprinklers within this boundary to offset any radiant heat that comes from a nearby fire. Radiant heat from a neighboring house that has caught fire could get hot enough to ignite your home without dropping any sparks on your roof. Keeping the area damp will help prevent that occurrence.
Seal Your Intakes and Windows
In the event of a wildfire in your area, one of the first things you should do is seal your intake vents and openings, such as pet doors, windows, and any cracks in your exterior. Know where all of these openings are to close them efficiently. This prevents embers from entering your house and igniting it from the inside.
If you live in an area subject to wildfires, consider installing metal shutters to close over your windows. Glass can break in extreme temperatures, letting the fire inside. Additionally, the glass doesn’t have to break if the radiant heat is high enough to catch your drapes and curtains on fire. When you have to replace your windows or if you’re building a home, use tempered glass and heat resistant curtains.
Never put yourself in danger to secure your home. Sometimes, even with the best efforts, the fire will win. That’s why having the right insurance coverage is essential so that when the damage is done, you can get on with your life.