Everyone has heard of wildfires in California. But guess which state had the highest number of wildfires in the U.S. in 2018? That’s right; Texas recorded a staggering 10,541 separate fires according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). It’s important that property managers and association boards in high-risk locations communicate to residents and tenants the importance of fire prevention and safety measures to protect their homes, properties, and communities.
Check with your local fire department and emergency management officials; they will know the risk of fire in your area and have more specialized information on things you can do to help keep your family, property and community safe. At least twice a year, check all fire warning and suppression equipment. That includes fire extinguishers, ceiling sprinkler systems and stairwell guidance systems if you’re in a high-rise or commercial property.
Clean gutters, as flying embers can easily set ablaze dry tinder. Consider pressure-washing rooftops to remove dry leaves, branches and dust. Create a defense perimeter around your home by clearing a space where tree limbs, dead wood, leaf debris and brush are thinned out within 30 feet of your home. Make sure branches overhanging your roof are trimmed back. Follow landscaping rules set by your association to reduce fire risks – this may include watering schedules or using fire-resistant plants in your yard.
If a fire threatens your community, have an evacuation plan ready. Send seasonal reminders as often as needed to community residents to underscore the importance of following evacuation orders. Keep in mind that some local roads may be impassable or closed by local agencies, so have several alternate routes planned. For more detail, check out this article.