Six Ways to Fireproof Your Home
Research tells us that on average 80% of fire deaths and 74% of fire injuries were caused by home fires (2012 – 2016). The leading cause (40%) of home fires are related to cooking. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports that overall the Top 10 Preventable Causes of House Fires include:
- Kids playing with fire
- Flammable products
- Christmas trees
Besides being on top of home maintenance and using caution in your home, there are things you can do to fireproof your house. With so many wildfires in recent years, preparing your home from a possible fire starts outside.
1. Protect the yard.
Clear combustibles in a 30- to 35-foot area around your home. Highly flammable items include pine needles and dried vegetation. Prune shrubs back during dry season. Rake up the pine needles which you should avoid using as mulch. Same goes for tree bark.
2. Use fire-resistant plants.
Trees that are more fire-resistant include birch, maple, poplar and cherry. Avoid highly flammable plants such as tall grass, spruce, pine, cedar and juniper. If you have cedar, shrubs are also highly burnable so if you have any be sure to create a break between the hedge and house.
3. Use eco-friendly fire-retardants.
Apply an environmentally-friendly fire-retardant spray to risky areas of the home and yard. Some insurance providers provide treatments free of charge. If you have a shed, spray it as well.
4. Take care of the roof.
Keep the gutters free of debris, like leaves and pine needles that have blown onto your roof. Clean the roof regularly and apply a fire-retardant. Replace any broken shingles.
5. Use the right materials when renovating.
Time to re-do the roof or siding? Use fireproof materials. Guard against the heat of a possible fire by changing your windows out to be double-paned, and fireplace doors with some that are fire-rated. Placing a metal gate between wooden fencing and your home can help keep fire away from the home as well.
6. Install windows less likely to crack or shatter from the heat of a fire.
Proper windows are important to have, especially if your home is in an area prone to wild fires. A regular window will break in about one to three minutes of exposure to heat. According to the California Building Code, you’re better off using dual-pane windows.
Did you know that a typical home insurance policy doesn’t cover arson? If there’s any indication the fire was started, typically by the owner in order to get a payout, the damage won’t be covered. If a home is vacant when it catches fire, coverage isn’t usually provided. You can get vacant home insurance, which does provide coverage.