LOS ANGELES, Nov. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Drought conditions have fueled wildfires throughout Georgia, the largest of which – the Rough Ridge Fire in the Cohutta Wilderness near Tennessee – having burned 6,400 acres as of Wednesday. Northern Georgians have been impacted by smoke and the weather forecast shows no sign of rain. Mercury Insurance (NYSE: MCY) is ready to assist homeowner policyholders in Georgia in the event they need to leave their homes due to a wildfire or if their property suffers fire damage. Mercury representatives are available to help with claims (http://www.mercuryinsurance.com/insurance-claims/how-to-file-insurance-claim.html), arrange for temporary housing and provide assistance with living expenses if policyholders suffer a covered loss or are forced to evacuate.
"Wildfires can be unpredictable, so we urge all Georgia residents to be ready to evacuate if asked to do so by emergency management personnel," said Mercury's Chief Claims Officer Randy Petro. "Our goal at Mercury is to help our customers prepare before a disaster happens and our claims team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help if a claim is necessary. Policyholders affected by these Georgia fires can contact Mercury Claims Hotline at (800) 503-3724 and we'll do everything we can to help as quickly as possible."
Petro has some advice if fires spread and people are asked to evacuate their homes.
Preparing to leave your home
Take out your family emergency plan and review it with all family members so you are prepared in the event you need to evacuate your home. This plan should include items you will need to bring with you, the place where you will all meet, and a list of who is responsible for specific tasks. It should also include a plan for your pets to ensure they are safe and happy and have everything they will need.
Stay in touch with local law enforcement to get an idea of when evacuations might be happening and if any roads will be closed because of the fire.
Follow the evacuation routes posted by local law enforcement.
Leave early and don't wait until the last minute to get to safety.
Try to keep a full tank of gas in your vehicle, as gas stations might be busy or closed along the evacuation route.
Gather prized and irreplaceable possessions, medications and important documents, like birth certificates, passports, bank account information, medical documents and insurance policies. Make sure these are boxed and near the door so they can be easily loaded into your vehicle at a moment's notice.
Pack clothes, phone chargers, and comfort items and load them into your vehicle. Inquire with local law enforcement to see if they have an estimated amount of time that you'll be away from your home.
Secure your home by locking doors and windows, turning off and unplugging electrical devices except your refrigerator and freezer, unless instructed by the fire department. You should also turn off the gas and water at the mains prior to leaving. Turning off the water will help to maintain water pressure for firefighters battling the blaze.
Let friends and family members not staying with you know where you're going and how to get ahold of you. It is best to do this through a phone call and not social media.
If you have young children, make sure you bring their favorite toys, stuffed animals and other items that will help feel safe during this scary time.
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information visit www.mercuryinsurance.com or Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.