BCAA says it's not too late for homeowners to take precautions against
BURNABY, BC, Sept. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - Despite the late start to B.C.'s
wildfire season, summer temperatures are hitting highs throughout the
province resulting in flare-ups such as those in the Falkland and West
Kelowna areas forcing over 500 people from their homes. Hot, dry
weather is expected to continue for at least another week, increasing
the risk of wildfires and putting nearby homes and communities in
danger. The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) says it's
not too late for homeowners, especially those in or around heavily
forested areas, to still take precautions to safeguard their families
and homes against wildfires.
After handling hundreds of wildfire related insurance claims and
assisting homeowners during some of B.C.'s most destructive wildfires
in 2003 and 2009, BCAA has learned more about what can make a home
vulnerable to damage caused by a wildfire. BCAA advises the following
smart, simple ways to prevent and reduce the risk of damage from
Surround your home with a 10 metre defensible space. Clear away any trees, brush, and firewood that could add fuel to a
fire. Use driveways, lawns and gravel to create a fuel break wherever
possible. Don't 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
Be visible in an emergency. Make sure emergency crews can see your address clearly from the road.
Be an advocate in your community for visible, fireproof street signs.
Be "Firesmart" inside your house. Keep one or more fire extinguishers charged and easily accessible.
Develop a fire safety plan which includes a home fire drill. Practice
your home fire escape plan regularly.
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 the event of a wildfire evacuation, but
also so they are protected against year-round threats such as hail,
arson or vandalism.
Prepare for the worst. Keep an itemized list or video recording of your belongings in a safe
place, such as a bank safe deposit box. Ensure your home and belongings
are adequately insured, and that your policy is up to date. During
natural disasters, such as wildfires, insurance companies may place
temporary restrictions on accepting new business, making the instant
purchase or upgrading of insurance exceptionally difficult.
Residents in areas with moderate to high fire danger ratings or on
evacuation alert should consider the following to ensure their home
insurance provides the protection they need:
Contact your insurance advisor to learn precisely what your policy
covers. Many people simply renew their insurance year after year
without reviewing their coverage.
Move valuables and irreplaceable items to a safe location.
Locate vital documents (e.g. passports, birth certificates, insurance
policies, etc.) and other critical items such as prescription
medication. Keep them handy and ready to move if evacuated.
Take photos or videos of items in the home that are not able to be moved
(e.g. furniture, antiques, electronics). Do the same with any
landscaping such as trees, shrubs and plants.
Move additional vehicles (such as RVs, boats, antique cars) to a safe
location. Basic liability insurance may be obtained to move vehicles,
but coverage for physical damage may not be currently available in
fire-affected areas. Contact your insurance advisor for details.
To learn more about how you can protect your home and property against a
forest fire read The Home Owners Firesmart Manual available in the Wildfire Prevention section of the B.C. Wildfire
Management Branch website at bcwildfire.ca. 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. BCAA provides an array of
award-winning home, auto and travel insurance products and services,
and roadside assistance to over 790,000 Members. Members can also
benefit from CAA Dollar rewards, savings on BCAA insurance products and
exclusive offers at Show Your Card & Save locations throughout the
province. BCAA has a proud history of serving British Columbians for
over 105 years, over $400 million in annual sales, 28 locations and
approximately 1,000 employees. To learn more about the benefits of BCAA
Membership, visit www.bcaa.com.
SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association
For further information:
or to request an interview, please contact:
BCAA Public Affairs Advisor