How to Prepare for This Year’s California Wildfires

california wildfire burning in background of neighborhood

The good news is that you’ve got some time to prepare your defenses against California’s wildfire season. Though it seems like the biggest threat would occur in the middle of summer, the hazard is actually from July through October, and it peaks during those last two early autumn months. 

That gives you plenty of time to review your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policies and make sure they offer maximum protection if you’re likely to be directly or indirectly in harm’s way. (And that’s an increasingly large parcel of California real estate today.) 

Here are four steps you can take to minimize the risk to your home and loved ones. 

Get an Air Filtration System and Figure Out Where to Use It 

Even if your home isn’t sitting directly in a flame path, heavy smoke can be a health risk to virtually all Californians during wildfire season. That’s why an air filtration system is so important. 

Now figure out where you’re going to put your system. Choose a room that’s big enough to hold everyone fairly comfortably, and that doesn’t have a fireplace or too many windows. Set up books, computers, board games, and whatever else you need to keep young ones occupied, and plan to spend significant time there until the threat dies down. Then keep your eye on smog and smoke alerts so you know when to use your cleanroom. 

Pack an Emergency Evacuation Bag 

Or more than one. The idea is to be able to get out quickly if you have to. So go as light as possible, but pack what you need. At the very least, we suggest flashlights and extra batteries, cash, bottled water, dry foods, blankets, and phone chargers. You might also wish to pack such sentimental favorites as wedding and baby photo albums. 

If you do have to leave in a hurry, don’t forget phones, wallets, and purses with credit cards and ID and medications. 

Formulate and Broadcast an Exit Strategy for Your Home 

If your children are young and always with you, it’s relatively easy to scoop them up and pile them into the car if you have to leave your home quickly. But older kids might have school, jobs, social lives, and after-school activities. In fact, if they’re old enough, you might have no idea where they are for hours at a time. That’s why it’s so necessary to work out a plan with them. 

First of all, make sure they always have their phones. (That’s easy with most teens and ‘tweens, who wouldn’t be caught dead without their smartphones.) Text them if you must all leave quickly, and have a pre-established meeting place. It might be the family home or a spot more central to where they usually are. A shopping mall or a school, for instance. 

If you’ve prepared one or more evacuation bags, you should already have everyone’s bare necessities. More than anything else, implant the seriousness of the occasion in their minds beforehand. Consider using a code word that everyone knows, and it must never be used in jest or for practice runs. 

man standing on cell phone by homes watching california wildfire in distance

Fireproof Your Home (as Much as Possible) 

There are no guarantees if your home is in the path of a California wildfire, but you can do as much as possible to keep your home fire-resistant. That can include replacing your shingle roofing with a fire-resistant composite material, tile, clay, or metal. 

Keep trees at a safe distance from your home since they can feed a fire. Then ask your homeowners insurance agent for additional tips on reducing your home’s risk. 

More on Your Homeowners Insurance or Renters Insurance Needs 

Even a near miss can cause significant smoke damage inside your home or rented spaces or burn out your yard. That’s why it’s so important to know what your homeowners or renters insurance policy will cover in the event of a California wildfire. Now would be a good time to take out your policy again and actually read it. 

Do you feel fully protected? If not, or if you have any questions or doubts, call up your independent insurance agent and discuss your concerns. It’s much better to do this now than to wait until flames are in the headlines. 

Plan for California Emergencies with Affordable Insurance Today 

California wildfire season is a serious health, safety, and financial threat to most state residents. So call Cost-U-Less at 800-390-4071 before this potentially deadly season starts. 

You can also find a fast and easy quote online for your homeowners insurance or renters insurance or an upgrade. You’ll also find an office and agent near you if you’d prefer to schedule an appointment.