Know who to call.
Everyone in the family should know who to call in case they can’t contact you. That means one or two nearby friends and relatives, plus somebody who lives out of state. They should also have the numbers of local emergency services programmed into their phones.
Prepare your home.
If you live in an area prone to wildfire, do what you can to make your property less vulnerable. As much as possible, use fire-resistant materials for building projects and repairs. Install wire mesh over any exterior vents to prevent floating embers from entering your house. Make sure you have enough hoses so that, when they’re attached to exterior faucets, they can reach any part of the house’s exterior. (Firefighters may need to use these.)
Prepare your yard.
Evolve your landscaping—choosing stone for patios, for example, and low-lying ground covers for plantings—to create a defensible perimeter immediately around the house. Keep your yard and gutters free of flammable debris. (AAA House Manager may be able to take care of this for you, along with many other household chores.) Make sure plants are well-watered and trimmed, your lawns mowed; dispose of any yard waste as quickly as possible. Trees should be pruned so the lowest branches are at least 6 feet from the ground. Situate firewood piles at least 30 feet from your home.
Check your insurance.
Don’t wait until fire season to be sure your insurance coverage is up to date and adequate for your property. Call your agent to review your coverage. Standard homeowners policies should provide enough money to repair or rebuild your home. Check to be sure outbuildings such as garages or sheds are included. Standard policies should also cover belongings in the house; to make such a claim, you’ll need an up-to-date home inventory. Also check to be sure your policy provides for living expenses (such as hotel rooms) if you need to be out of your home for any period of time. Find out whether your car insurance covers fire damage to your vehicles.
Sign up for alerts.
Local officials use Nixle alerts to notify residents about emergencies and other urgent matters via text messages. To sign up, text your zip code to 888777 (standard text messaging rates will apply) or visit local.nixle.com/register.
For more preparation tips, see Are You Prepared for a Wildfire.