BCAA urges homeowners to take precautions against wildfires
BURNABY, B.C., July 29, 2013 /CNW/ - With temperatures rising in many
parts of the province, the British Columbia Automobile Association
(BCAA) advises homeowners, especially those in or around heavily
forested areas, to safeguard themselves against summer wildfires.
As one of the largest providers of home insurance in the province, BCAA
has handled hundreds of wildfire related insurance claims during some
of B.C.'s most destructive wildfires, such as the Okanagan Mountain
Park fire in 2003, classified by the provincial Wildfire Management
Branch as being the most significant interface wildfire event in B.C.
And, in 2009, BCAA team members helping homeowners during evacuations
witnessed the overwhelming effects of forest fires on communities.
"We've seen first-hand the devastation homeowners face when a wildfire
is threatening their home, or worse, has devoured it," says BCAA Vice
President of Insurance, Hubert Rau. "By working with our policy holders
and taking a close look at the damage to their homes, we've learned
more about what can make a property vulnerable to damage caused by a
wildfire. That's why we encourage homeowners to take the time now, to
practice good fire prevention measures."
BCAA advises the following precautions to help prevent and reduce the
risk of damage from summer fires:
Surround your home with a 10-metre defensible space. Clear away trees, brush, and firewood that could add fuel to a fire. Use
driveways, lawns and gravel to create a fuel break wherever possible.
Consider "Firesmart" landscaping options, such as planting more
fire-resilient trees to expand your building's defensible space.
Do not store gas/propane tanks under decks or porches.
Assess your roof. Clear away overhanging trees and combustible debris such as pine
needles and other vegetation that could act as fuel for airborne sparks
and embers. Keep all eaves troughs clear of dry material. If a roof is
scheduled for replacement, consider installing roofing material, such
as asphalt or ceramic, which are more resilient to fire and embers
compared to cedar shake tiles.
Be visible in an emergency. Ensure emergency crews can see the address clearly from the road. Be a
community advocate for visible, fireproof street signs.
Be "Firesmart" inside the home. Keep one or more fire extinguishers charged and easily accessible.
Develop a fire safety plan which includes a home fire drill, and be
ready at all times to put the plan into action.
Don't let occasional-use vehicles sit uninsured. It's smart to keep recreational and other occasional-use vehicles
(e.g. boats, RVs, collectible cars) insured at all times. Not only so
they can be moved quickly in a wildfire evacuation, but to also protect
them against year-round threats such as hail, arson or vandalism.
Prepare for the worst. Keep an itemized list of belongings in a safe place, such as a safe or
deposit box. Take photos or videos of possessions such as jewelry,
electronics and furniture. Don't forget to document landscaping items
such as trees, shrubs and plants.
Ensure your home insurance policy is up-to-date. Contact your insurance advisor to learn precisely what your policy
covers. Ensure your belongings are adequately insured and that your
policy reflects any significant renovations and other improvements made
to your home.
To learn more about how you can protect your home and property against a
wildfire, visit bcaa.com/wildfireprotection. For questions about home insurance coverage in a forest fire, consult
with your local insurance advisor.
BCAA is one of the most trusted organizations in British Columbia,
serving one-in-four B.C. households. With over 800,000 Members, BCAA
provides an array of award-winning home, auto and travel insurance
products and services, and roadside assistance. BCAA has also received
the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates award for "Highest Customer
Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers in Western Canada". Now in
its 107th year, BCAA has over $400 million in annual sales, 27 locations and over
800 employees. To learn more about the benefits of BCAA Membership,
visit bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Road Safety Foundation visit BCAARoadSafety.com.
SOURCE: British Columbia Automobile Association
For further information:
For further information, or to request an interview, please contact:
Niela Melanio, BCAA Communication Specialist