Tips to Protect Your Business Property Against Summer Wildfires

Jun 21, 2010, 08:30 ET from OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd.

CANTON, Mass., June 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While we eagerly await the arrival of summer and dry, hot weather, these conditions heighten the risk for erratic wildland fires, more commonly known as wildfires, in certain areas across the U.S.  Called "wild" for a reason, wildfires are difficult to predict, control and contain, often causing extensive destruction. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 78,792 wildland fires destroyed almost 6 million acres of land in 2009, including commercial businesses and other property. As the potential number of wildfires increases every year, OneBeacon urges businesses to take the following steps to prepare and protect their operations.

  • Because roofs are particularly vulnerable to wildfire, choose a Class "A" fire-rated roof covering and be sure to keep it clear of debris.  
  • Consider replacing single-pane windows with dual-panes, as heat from a wildfire can easily break single-pane windows.
  • Inspect vents, gutters and roof-to-wall intersections. Wind-driven embers can enter through vents or ignite debris collected.
  • Inspect the landscaping and surrounding vegetation on the property. Reduce the chance of drawing a fire in by choosing rock or gravel mulch and low growing plants or lawns for areas right up against the property.
  • If possible, relocate any combustible items to at least 30 feet away from the building and other structures. Flying embers from wildfires that come in contact with such items increase the risk of spreading the fire.
  • Review your community's emergency evacuation plans and develop your own detailed contingency plan to ensure the restoration of your business operations in a timely fashion. Be sure to communicate both clearly to your employees.
  • In the event of a local wildfire, monitor reports through broadcast or online sources and follow your emergency plans when necessary.  Remember, personal safety is most important.
  • If you must evacuate your property, secure the building as much as possible. Be sure to close all windows. Open windows can be entry points for embers and can quickly start interior fires.

Additional recommendations are available at the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) website:

About OneBeacon: OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd. is a Bermuda-domiciled holding company that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "OB." OneBeacon Insurance Group's underwriting companies offer a range of insurance products sold through select independent agents, regional and national brokers, and wholesalers. The company's ongoing businesses include OneBeacon Professional Insurance, International Marine Underwriters, Entertainment Brokers International Insurance Services, Specialty Accident and Health, OneBeacon Government Risks, OneBeacon Energy Group, A.W.G. Dewar (tuition refund), collector cars and boats written through Hagerty Insurance Agency, OneBeacon Technology Group, OneBeacon Financial Services, OneBeacon Specialty Property, Property and Inland Marine, and AutoOne.

As one of the oldest property and casualty insurers in the United States, OneBeacon traces its roots to 1831 and the Potomac Fire Insurance Company. Today, OneBeacon's specialty insurance businesses are national in scope while personal lines business is concentrated in the Northeastern United States.

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SOURCE OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd.