The 2017 wildfire season in California was one of the most deadly and destructive on record. Extended drought conditions in the Golden State suggest there is still a potential for more wildfires in 2018, which means residents of San Diego should be prepared to face this emergency. The story of John and Jan Pascoe, a couple from Santa Rosa forced to jump into a neighbor’s swimming pool and remain there for six hours as flames engulfed the property, underscores the need for preparation. Here are some important recommendations.
CAL FIRE Ready for Wildfire is a mobile app California residents should install on their Android and iOS devices. This app sends notifications about wildfire incidents based on GPS proximity. For example, people in Santa Barbara were notified about the Thomas Fire still being contained near the foothills on December 29th, 2017. The Ready for Wildfire app also features checklists, instructions on putting together emergency kits, and updates on evacuation routes, and it offers information about defensible space, which consists of ensuring the area surrounding the house has enough clearance to prevent the spread of brush fires.
Review Property Insurance Coverage
Homeowners should always think about the financial implications of a worst-case scenario. Since many first-time homebuyers elect to allow their mortgage lenders to handle property insurance in an escrow account, they seldom review their coverage. With so many wildfires spreading across the Golden State, now is the time to review existing property insurance in San Diego, particularly if expensive decorations, artwork, or electronics have been recently acquired and may not be adequately protected.
Prepare for Possible Evacuation
The wildfires in the Napa Valley showed that many households were not prepared for this kind of emergency. Being ready to evacuate includes making sure at least one vehicle is always fueled up. Moreover, emergency supplies, medications, and important documents should be staged in a way that they are easy to pack and transport in case of a rapid evacuation. Homeowners should also be familiar with the location of the main circuit breaker and the water main if they need to be turned off in an emergency.
Heed Evacuation Orders
Local news radio stations such as KFMB in San Diego, which broadcasts on 100.7 FM and 760 AM, keep residents abreast of the latest evacuation orders and traffic reports. Drivers should expect congestion, and they should also follow the instructions of firefighters and police officers they encounter on the road. When evacuations are mandatory, local law enforcement agents implement them. If flames are already blocking the evacuation routes, homeowners should call 911 and start filling up all sinks, tubs, washing machines, buckets, and even bottles with water. Doors should be closed but left unlocked, and there should be a clear path for rescuers to enter the house.
Much like you should be prepared with adequate home insurance in the event of a disaster, you should also make sure to have the coverage you need if you own a vehicle of some type. American Tri-Star is a leading provider of auto, motorcycle, and motorhome insurance in San Diego. If you’d like to learn about our insurance coverage and receive a free quote, call 619-272-2100 today to speak with one of our knowledgeable agents.