Throughout the year, more than 9,000 fires burned across more than 1,200,000 acres in California, making it one of the most severe seasons in the state’s history.
Our catastrophe response team’s wildfire mitigation strategy was developed specifically for times like these. Pre-established plans and relationships allowed our Claims Adjusters and PURE Member Advocates® to come together with our wildfire response crews in service of the membership. This enabled on-the-ground emergency support and real-time updates, which proved critical during this year’s devastating season.
PURE’S WILDFIRE MITIGATION EFFORTS
Our Claims team monitors wildfire activity throughout the country, deploying resources as needed. Ultimately, fire conditions this past season led us to send response trucks and crews to fires in Oregon, Montana, Utah, Washington State and California.
Once deployed, response crews on the ground inspect members’ properties, move combustible materials away from structures and, when necessary, treat the property with fire retardant. Very little information is typically available to residents during fires, so we provide members with updates as they are available. This includes information on the fire’s distance from, and threat level to, the home. We also help them understand the steps our teams may take next in response to the fire’s anticipated movement.
Member Advocates call members in the fires' anticipated paths to inquire about their well-being and the state of their properties. This allows us to direct our response resources more effectively.
CALIFORNIA UNDERWRITING RESULTS
PURE’s underwriting criteria in wildfire-prone areas of California is conservative. We are careful to manage the total insured value of our exposures, and we work hard to build a geographically diverse book of business to reduce our risk during any single event—wildfire or other.
Click on the icons within the map to explore the major California wildfires of late 2017.
Maintain defensible space.
A critical step in wildfire mitigation is to create and maintain defensible space around your home’s perimeter. This tactic can slow or stop the spread of wildfire and help to prevent spot fires caused by flying embers. It does not mean you have to forgo a beautifully landscaped yard; defensible space involves strategically clearing and placing vegetation in order to produce a buffer between your home or other structures on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs or any wildland area that surrounds them.
Prevent embers from entering your home.
Cover openings like chimneys and stovepipes with metal mesh to stop flying embers. Avoid fiberglass or plastic mesh, because these can melt or burn. For vents in eaves, however, metal mesh does not provide sufficient protection; use baffles in these areas instead. We also recommend that you place weather stripping around and under your garage door.
Consider installing a fire protection system.
A permanent exterior fire protection system can help to guard against wildfire at all times. Options include water-based, foam-based and gel-based systems. Some systems have pre-treatment capabilities in addition to a sensor-based emergency response, and many can alert you when the system is activated.