TAMPA, Fla., June 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As evacuations from the very dangerous Waldo Canyon wildfire continue in Colorado, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) urges home and business owners to make last-minute preparations to their home or business that could help the structure survive a wildfire attack.
Wind-borne embers can travel more than a mile from an actual fire, according to the IBHS and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service. One no-cost, but highly effective, way to reduce risk from wildfire embers is to clear debris from roofs and gutters. In particular, overhanging or dead tree branches, leaves, pine needles and other combustible items should be removed. Be sure to remove any combustible items surrounding your house or business, such as wood piles, gas cans, and wooden structures that can be easily moved at least 30 feet – and ideally, 100 feet – from the building. Also, windows and doors should be tightly closed, and all roof vents or soffits covered to prevent embers from entering and igniting materials inside the building.
"Our hearts go out to the thousands of people whose lives have been unfortunately impacted by this terrible fire," said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. "While IBHS focuses on property protection, we want to emphasize that life safety is the most important thing, so residents in affected areas absolutely should follow local emergency personnel instructions, and evacuate as quickly and safely as possible when told to do so."
Rochman added that "once the fire has been suppressed, and damages assessed, it will be time to recover, repair and rebuild – and victims and those whose property were spared both should consider which property protection features they should add to help make their home or business safer and stronger against future fires."
IBHS offers a free, easy-to -use Wildfire Home Assessment and Checklist to determine specific and effective property improvement projects to undertake. The checklist contains a cost estimator to help prioritize tasks. IBHS also offers wildfire preparedness resources focusing on commercial, residential, and farm and ranch properties.
For additional guidance, please visit DisasterSafety.org/wildfire.
IBHS is a leading national expert on preparing for, and repairing and rebuilding structures after a catastrophe to make them more disaster-resistant. To arrange an interview with IBHS, contact Joseph King at 813-675-1045/813-442-2845, [email protected] or via direct message on Twitter @jsalking.
About the IBHS
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.
SOURCE Institute for Business & Home Safety