Fortify Your Home: A Resilient Wildfire Preparation Checklist

Jan 14, 2024Property Insurance0 comments

Wildfire Preparation Checklist


Wildfires can pose a significant threat to homes, especially in regions like Texas, where the risk is higher. Taking proactive steps to prepare your home can make a crucial difference in safeguarding your property and loved ones. Here’s a comprehensive wildfire preparation checklist tailored for homeowners in Texas, specifically in Austin.

Prepare Your Home

  1. Visible Address Numbers:
    • Ensure your address numbers are at least four inches tall against a contrasting background and visible for at least 150 feet. This helps emergency officials locate your home quickly.
  2. Vegetation Management:
    • Remove vegetation around your home and chimney.
    • Prune tree branches to 10 feet above the ground.
    • Regularly mow your lawn and clear debris.
  3. Fire Safety Equipment:
    • Install smoke alarms in every room.
    • Place fully charged fire extinguishers on each floor.
  4. Water Resources:
    • Keep a long garden hose ready to reach all areas.
    • Be prepared to fill containers with water.
  5. Roof Inspection:
    • Have a tall ladder nearby to inspect the roof for hot spots.
    • Wet the roof to prevent flying embers.
  6. Storage Safety:
    • Store combustible items away from the house.
    • Remove leaves and debris from gutters.
  7. Outdoor Items:
    • Move combustible items like furniture away from the house.
    • Clear mulch and vegetation within five feet of the house.
  8. Firewood Management:
    • Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from any structure.
  9. Chimney Maintenance:
    • Ensure dampers in the chimney are working.
    • Use spark arresters approved by NFPA.
  10. Mesh Screens:
  • Install quarter-inch mesh screens on vents and entrances.
  • Place screens beneath decks, porches, and the house.
  1. Document Protection:
  • Make copies of important documents.
  • Create a photo catalog of belongings on your smartphone.

After a Fire

  1. Safety Measures:
    • Wear a NIOSH-certified respirator.
    • Wet debris to minimize exposure to dust particles.
  2. Water Use Caution:
    • Avoid using contaminated water for various purposes.
  3. Property Inspection:
    • Check the roof and attic for hot spots, sparks, or embers.
    • Recheck the house and yard for burning embers for at least 12 hours.
  4. Documentation:
    • Document property damage for insurance claims.

Understanding the Importance of Preparedness

Understanding what could happen ahead of time will significantly reduce stress during a time when it’s most important to be calm.

Decide on the Following

You can build your plan once you have the answers to the following scenarios and questions.

  1. Meeting Places:
    • Identify a primary and backup meeting place near your property or in the area.
  2. Evacuation Routes:
    • Determine the safest routes inside your own home to evacuate.
  3. Pet Plan:
    • Develop a plan for transporting and feeding your pets during an evacuation.
  4. Vehicle Choices:
    • Choose which car (or cars) you will take. Ensure chosen vehicles have a full gas tank.
  5. Review and Practice:
    • Decide how often you will review and practice the evacuation plan with your family.

Consider Including These Steps in Your Plan

(Only if time permits)

  1. Secure Your Home:
    • Lock doors.
    • Close windows.
  2. Utilities:
    • Shut off utilities.

Things to Always Keep in Mind

  1. Power Lines:
    • Keep your distance from downed power lines.
  2. Road Safety:
    • Look out for washed-out or blocked roads and bridges.
    • Never drive into flooded areas; these waters can be deceptively deep and powerful.
  3. Evacuation Guidelines:
    • Adhere to evacuation routes.
  4. Follow Instructions:
    • If you receive an instruction to evacuate, do not ignore it. Ignoring instructions may put you at risk.

By following this comprehensive checklist, homeowners can enhance their preparedness for wildfires in the Texas region, particularly in Austin. Stay vigilant, stay safe.


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