Recent Wildfires Remind Ken-Caryl Residents to Prepare
The Ken-Caryl Firewise Committee says now is the time to prepare your family, finances and property with a Wildfire Reality Check. As fire crews across the Front Range respond to wildfires in January and February, the members of the Firewise Committee urge homeowners to use this time to take a “Wildfire Reality Check” and ensure both your finances and property are prepared for wildfires.
These wildfires are a strong reminder to everyone in Ken-Caryl that wildfire is an ongoing threat. Over the next few months, fire activity is expected to intensify in Colorado. The Wildfire Reality Check reminds homeowners that there are simple steps to take before a wildfire that will ensure the safety of your family, reduce damage and make recovery easier. In many areas of the Western United States, it’s not a question of if there will be wildfires, but when. Now is the time to get ready.
Quick Tips on How to Prepare Your Finances
• Read and understand your insurance policy. The typical homeowner’s policy covers damage caused by wind, fire and lightning. Comprehensive auto insurance generally covers damage or destruction to a vehicle from a fire.
• Review your insurance policy regularly with your insurance company or agent. If you have recently remodeled or built a new addition onto your property, be sure to increase the amount of protection to cover the upgraded materials or expanded square footage. Talk about types of insurance policies and learn the difference between a replacement cost policy, which generally provides for the repair or replacement of damaged covered personal property items, and an actual cash value policy that will only provide reimbursement for the depreciated value of the covered personal property item.
• Create and keep an inventory of your personal items and photograph or videotape them for documentation and claims purposes. Be specific: document how many TVs, computers, sets of towels and sheets, and other items you have. The more detail you record, the easier recovery will be. Keep receipts for major purchases and keep records of the age, current value, make, model and serial number of your personal property. Keep your inventory and a copy of your insurance policy at another location. Making a home inventory is very easy – just grab your smartphone and walk through your house. Remember to open drawers and closets and don’t forget to video what is in your garage. This easy home video could help make rebuilding your home much easier.
Wildfire Reality Check – Quick Tips on How to Prepare Your Property
• Create defensible space around your home by clearing dead brush, grass and shrubs. Defensible space can slow the spread of a fire and help keep firefighters safe.
• Clean out leaves, pine needles and dirt that may have collected in rain gutters or on roofs.
• Cut back tree branches that hang over the house or near the chimney and create six feet of clearance between the ground and tree branches.
• Consider landscaping with fire-resistant trees and shrubs such as deciduous trees and low-growing shrubs.
• Remove any wood piles or wooden play houses against homes or structures.
• Keep operational fire extinguishers in kitchens.
• Install new batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
• Create a family plan that includes a safe meeting location and communication plan. Hold family evacuation drills, which include identifying critical items in your home and loading them in your car. Make sure your family knows what actions to take if a fire breaks out. Include plans for pets.
• Identify family valuables and treasures you can gather in a short time span. Here’s a short list of documents you should have ready to take with you:
• Credit card numbers
• Bank account numbers
• Vehicle titles
• List of medications
• Birth certificates
• Homeowner’s and auto insurance policies
Prepare your family with mitigation (reducing the wildfire threat to your home), preparation (plans for communication and packing critical items) and evacuation (safe and early evacuation in case of wildfire).
This article originally appeared in the Feb. 22, 2017 Life at Ken-Caryl paper.