National Wildfire Community Preparation Day is May 3, 2014
Bloomington, IL (April 29, 2014) – Wildfires are a serious threat to lives and property. The combination of drought, high winds and an excess of dried vegetation in forests and grasslands has made fire seasons progressively worse over the past 50 years. In 2014 alone, more than 16,400 fires have burned 266,000 acres across the United States.
In an effort to help raise wildfire safety awareness, State Farm is working with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s Firewise Communities® Program to encourage homeowners to take action and reduce the risk of wildfire damage in their area. On May 3rd, State Farm, NFPA, and Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) are co-sponsoring the first national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and encouraging community volunteers, neighborhoods, and individual homeowners to join forces in creating safer places to live. As an additional incentive, twenty community projects have been chosen to receive a $500 monetary award from State Farm to assist with wildfire preparation efforts.
State Farm reminds homeowners that the best way to reduce property loss due to wildfire is to plan ahead. One of the most important steps to reduce wildfire damage is to clear and maintain a defensible space around your home and structures. Clearing or trimming vegetation reduces the chance of fire damage and provides a safety zone for firefighters. Here are several easy and inexpensive ways to create a defensible space:
- Take care of the clean, open space around your home by removing dead shrubs, dried grass, fallen branches and dried leaves within 30 feet on all sides of a structure.
- Keep trees and shrubs properly thinned and pruned within the defensible space.
- Remove ladder fuels — plants, low branches, and fire wood that let a fire on the ground climb into the trees.
- Clear three to five feet around the base of the house and fill the space with fire- resistant plants or materials such as rocks or gravel.
- Keep your roof and gutters clear of debris and remove overhanging branches.
- Keep grass and weeds mowed at a low height.
In addition to protecting your home, review your homeowner’s insurance coverage with your agent, especially if you have made recent changes to your property. We recommend that you purchase an amount of coverage at least equal to the estimated replacement cost. Determining your home’s estimated replacement cost is important because this will ultimately determine which policy options are available to you. Since it is impossible to predict today what the exact cost will be to replace your home in the future, it’s important to have enough coverage to account for unforeseen circumstances. Remember to document your belongings by creating a home inventory. An accurate inventory and proof of ownership can make your claim settlement easier and faster.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), more than 47,000 fires burned over 4.3 million acres in 2013 with the State of Hawaii being the only U.S. state to not have a wildfire last year.
The Top 10 States for the Number of Wildfires in 2013 (according to NIFC) are:
|Number of Claims
|2. North Carolina
|9. South Carolina
For more information and ideas on how to make your community wildfire ready, visit the National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day webpage at wildfireprepday.org.
About State Farm®
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2014 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com®.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at nfpa.org/freeaccess.
SOURCE: State Farm