6 Critical Preparation Recommendations for an Unexpected Fire

This year has been a rough year with the several devastating fires that have broken out all across California. So we’d thought we’d advice our fellow readers, specifically those that may be at risk of wildfire on how to take precaution with 6 critical preparation recommendations.

1. Get a fire resistant safe

We all have important documents: birth certificates, marriage licenses, deeds to our homes, insurance policies, etc. Where do many people store them? They go anywhere from the bottom of a drawer of filing cabinet to some shoe box in the top of one of the closets. You don’t want to try and find these papers after you hear on the news that there are mandatory evacuations in your area. They need to be in one place, in a fire resistant safe, which can be in the spare bedroom closet. It’s even better if you get a safe that you can pack in the car with you. That way stuff is protected from fire and taken out of the way, too. A fire resistant safe is available from any major big box store for less than $50.

2. Put irreplaceable items in one place

Everyone has stuff that can’t be replaced. We’re talking about pictures, old videos, even heirloom items. We recommend that you have one place for those family heirlooms, and another place for pictures, videos, etc. Wherever you put it all, make sure that you know where it is. If you have specific locations for that stuff, you can pack it up and get out quickly if you have to.

3. Backup your data

If you don’t have some kind of backup for all of your electronic data, stop reading right now and start shopping for cloud storage for your data. Do it. The best solution is a service that provides real time online cloud backups. Your digital life is important enough for you to keep safe.

4. Obey local emergency management

This needs no further explanation.

5. Have a plan

Get everyone to pack a bug-out bag. Everyone will need at least 3 changes of clothes, a week’s worth of medications, mobile phone chargers (and portable charging devices if you have them). You’ll also need to prepack all of those irreplaceable items that you can fit and take with you (including your onsite backups). Give everyone instructions where they should go in the event of an evacuation. Have a communication plan. Communication and clarity defeats confusion and chaos.

6. Finance your risk

Buy the right insurance and put your deductible in the bank. If you have a mortgage on your home, the bank has already made you buy insurance. If not, you may have decided that you didn’t want to pay for the insurance. What you’re saying with that is that you don’t want to pay the $300/month. You would rather risk losing your $200,000 home and having no way of replacing it or the $75,000 worth of stuff in your home. You’re saving less than $4,000/year and risking probably $300,000. That doesn’t seem to be the best trade off, especially if you live in an area where wildfires happen. By the way, if you rent, you have even less of an excuse. Tenants’ contents policies can be a few hundred dollars annually. If you have insurance, you have protection if something happens to your house and stuff. You also have money for additional living expenses and you may even have coverage to provide a place to stay if you are evacuated.
 
 
We at UniAmerica wish you and your family safe holidays and do your best to prepare for the unexpected! We hope these tips help.
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