What to do before a wildfire
To limit damage to your home, follow these steps if your area may be susceptible to wildfires:
- Install fire-resistant window treatments, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers throughout your home.
- Store a ladder, shovel, rake, axe, water bucket, and garden hose that is long enough to reach your house and structures.
- Keep leaves, needles, hanging branches, dead trees, firewood, flammable plants and other debris away from your home and structures.
- Keep tree crowns 5 metres apart, trim tree limbs to 5 metres off the round and separate shrubs by a distance of at least twice their height.
- Maintain at least 30 metres of adequately watered space on level ground and 60 metres on sloped terrain around your home. Keep grass cut short.
- Clear a 3-metre area around propane tanks or barbeque areas.
What to do during a wildfire
Your main concern will be to keep yourself and your family safe. Therefore, if conditions become too dangerous, leave your home immediately and go to a safe area. Your Chubb Homeowners policy will respond to any covered loss in these cases.
If you have time to act, below are a few tips to help mitigate damage:
- Turn on a light in each room to increase the visibility of your home in heavy smoke.
- Remove lightweight or non-fire-resistant window treatments and materials around windows.
- Close windows, vents, and doors.
- Seal off exterior windows, glass doors, attic and ground vents with precut plywood or commercial seals.
- Open the fireplace damper and close fireplace screens.
- Shut off propane and natural gas and turn off pilot lights.
- Connect garden hoses to outside taps, place lawn sprinklers on the roof or near above-ground fuel tanks and wet the roof and shrubs within 5 metres of your home.
What to do after a wildfire
Once the fire is completely out and authorities say it is safe to return to your home, consider these tips to stay safe:
- Call a professional electrician to check your household wiring before the current is turned back on.
- Wear sturdy shoes and long pants and be on the lookout for signs of heat, smoke, or sparks throughout your home, including the attic or crawl space, for several hours.
- Discard food, beverages or medicine that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
- Avoid damaged or fallen trees, power poles or lines and downed wires.
- Watch for ash pits, which are holes full of hot ash, created by burned trees or stumps.