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Other voices: Take simple steps now to protect family, home from fire

Nearly 1,000 American homes are destroyed each year by wildfires, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. With dry conditions throughout California this year, the potential is high for destructive wildfires that could damage and destroy homes and businesses. As a local homeowner and insurance agent with a business in Grass Valley, I can’t overstate the importance of taking simple steps now to protect our families, homes and possessions from being consumed by deadly wildfires.

While no home can be made completely fireproof, the preventative steps outlined below can help protect your property.

• Create defensible space by removing dry grass, brush, dead leaves and low-hanging tree branches at least 200 feet around your home



• Remove dead or dying trees.

• Design and landscape your home with wildfires in mind by selecting trees and shrubs that are fire-resistant.




• Maintain an emergency water supply and assemble a disaster supply kit with items you may need if advised to evacuate.

• Create an individual emergency plan for your family.

• Review your homeowners’ policy periodically with an insurance agent to help you make sure your homeowners’ policy is up to date, especially if you’ve made improvements to or added onto your home recently.

• Make an inventory of your home’s contents with a video camera, digital photos, or even with free software available on the Internet, and store the information in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box.

California’s insurers also are working with state and local groups to raise community awareness of the wildfire threat. For example, Allstate partnered with the California Fire Safe Council to publish a Homeowner’s Guide to Fire Safe Landscaping and provided grants to the Nevada County Fire Safe Council to assist disabled individuals and the elderly with creating defensible space around their homes. These are just a few of the resources we can use in California to help protect ourselves from the potentially devastating effects of wildfire.

Don’t let a wildfire disaster turn into a catastrophe by being unprepared. Help protect your home, prepare and practice a family emergency plan, and check with an insurance agent to make sure your homeowners’ policy is up to date. For more information about helping to protect your family, home and business from wildfires, consider consulting these sources:

Allstate (www.allstate.com/catastrophe/wild-fire.aspx)

California Fire Safe Council (www.firesafecouncil.org)

Nevada County Fire Safe Council (www.firesafecouncilnevco.com)

National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org)

Firewise Communities (www.firewise.org/communities)

National Interagency Fire Center (www.nifc.gov)

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Jeff Dunning is an Allstate agent and a member of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County. He lives in Grass Valley.


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