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Insurance Advisors' Newsletter
   April 2014

Tips to Prepare for Wildfire Season in Colorado
By Susan Cormier for Insurance Advisors

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IA Team

While spring is a beautiful time in Colorado, it also is a time when wildfires can begin to wreck havoc on our gorgeous landscape and neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with wildfires and the damage they can cause. We witnessed major destruction last year with the Black Forest Fire and in 2012 with the High Park Fire and Waldo Canyon Fire.

Because of these fires, some insurance companies are asking customers to share the risk by taking precautions. Some are even conducting on-site inspections and notifying policy holders of what they need to do to mitigate wildfire hazards.

We thought we should also provide you with some of the better suggestions for protecting your home and property. 

1. Create a defensible space around your home.
Since defensible space is between 30 and 200 feet, it is recommended that you cut, trim and clear tree branches around your chimney and roof; remove leaves from the gutters and eaves; and clean up debris and vegetation from under patio decks and areas around the house.

You’ll also want to take a look at the plants around your home. It might be a good time to replace that vegetation with nonflammable landscaping materials.

If you have heavily wooded areas around your home, you might want to reduce the number of trees you have and/or prune the branches of existing trees in the defensible space to 10 feet above ground. If you have lots of pine needles that have fallen from your trees, rake them up.

Another idea – and project - would be to create “fire breaks,” such as driveways, pavement walkways, rock gardens and cinder block garden walls to slow a fire’s path.

Don’t forget about wood piles and liquid propane tanks. You’ll want to make sure they are at least 30 feet from all structures and not located within 10 feet of any flammable vegetation.

2. Make it easy for firefighters to find and get to your property.
Make sure your street name and house number are clearly visible. Keep in mind that all access routes to your home should be clear of low-hanging tree branches and flammable vegetation.

3. Know the location of your outside water sources,
such as fire hydrants and ponds. It’s also a good idea to have an outside garden hose that is long enough to reach around your house to help douse the wildfire’s flames.

In addition to these suggestions, there are a couple of other ideas that you might want to think about. While they might not be feasible for you at this time, we’re including them here so that you think about them the next time you are doing a major project or remodeling your home.

If you have a flammable roof, replace it.
Install a roof with a “Class A” fire classification. It is also recommended that you cover the chimney outlet with nonflammable screening.

Install fire-resistant windows and siding.
Dual- or triple-pane windows are recommended because they are less susceptible to breakage caused by the heat of a fire. For your home’s exterior walls, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) recommends using fire-resistant materials, such as cement, plaster, stucco or masonry (concrete, stone brick or block). While vinyl siding isn’t ignited easily, it can melt in the high heat of a fire.

We hope and pray that we don’t have another catastrophic fire season this year. Please help others you know by sharing the information in this email. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call the Insurance Advisors
at 720-210-9898.

The Hartford

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