Wildfire Awareness & Preparation
Understand Wildfire Awareness & Preparation with Morris & Garritano
The month of May was National Wildfire Awareness Month and in California, we are no strangers to the risk wildfires pose to our environment each year. Unplanned and uncontained fires that burn in wooded or grassy natural areas cause immense damage each season to commercial and private properties alike, making it important to prepare early and reduce your risk as much as possible.
Wildfire risk in California
While wildfires have been a regular threat to California properties, factors such as prolonged drought periods and drier climates have been seen to extend the fire season annually. Year over year, the severity and acreage burned by wildfires is sharply increasing.
Statistics show the majority of wildfires are started by preventable human error with drier ecosystems and climates making the blazes larger and more difficult to contain.
Furthermore, greater, more frequent wildfires are drastically reducing the air quality within the state and surrounding areas calling for greater attention to proper land management and protective strategies and increased conversation around public health and safety.
Elevated risk and damages from wildfires are contributing to an increasingly tightening insurance market bringing sharp increases to premiums for property coverage for both commercial and private property owners. Policyholders are seeing higher premiums and less generous coverage as wildfires continue to pose greater threats each season and costs of damages to high-value properties are rising.
At Morris & Garritano, we have been providing trusted service for over 135 years and our teams are positioned to navigate these markets. “We have client relationships going back decades and generations, and we have the same on the carrier side,” explains Daniel Gilman, Commercial Risk Advisor at M&G. “We are able to deliver for our clients in the hardest of times through leveraging these long-established carrier relationships. We have to be able to think like an underwriter and then articulate why our client’s risk at the micro level is lower or different than what a computer model at the macro level says it is.”
Our advisors know that with the current state of the industry in mind, it will take more than a good policy to protect your property, and the time to prepare is now.
Wildfire Awareness & Preparation: Preparing your property
You can set a plan and take steps to reduce risk to your home or business by using safe, fire-resistant materials and having an evacuation plan in place in case of emergency. Ready.gov provides an excellent guide and resources to help prepare your commercial or private property for this risky season. Find below some actionable steps you can take to protect and prepare yourself:
- Download the FEMA app for real-time alerts and warnings from the National Weather Service.
- Have an emergency plan in place and ensure everyone knows how to evacuate the premises if needed. Know your evacuation zone and emergency exit routes.
- Prepare a supply kit in case of emergency. Consider the essential items and supplies you may need to have gathered in the event of a quick exit.
- Review all important documents (such as insurance policies, personal documents, IDs, etc.) and ensure are up to date and stored in a safe place.
Additionally, you can maintain and fortify your property to protect against fire risk with helpful steps such as ensuring reliable water supply to the building, using fire-resistant materials to build, repair, or renovate, and keeping vents and exhausts clear of lint, debris, or other potentially flammable material.
For more information on specific, actionable steps you can take to safeguard your property, we recommend the following source from one of our trusted carriers:
Lastly, CAL FIRE with the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection have created Fire Hazard Severity Zone maps so you can understand your property’s level of risk and prepare accordingly.
Protecting what matters
Don’t wait to assess your property’s risk and begin taking steps to mitigate your exposure to potential damage by wildfire. Time can be your best asset when it comes to being able to prepare an emergency plan in the event of the unthinkable.
Our team at Morris & Garritano is remaining vigilant as trusted advisors. For questions about risk management, property preparation, best practices, and more, you can reach out to your account manager at any time for personalized support.