TOPEKA, KS – Wildfires throughout Kansas during 2017 have prompted the Kansas Insurance Department staff to encourage the state’s property owners to reduce the risk of home and property loss in the event of wildfire activity during 2018.
“The Kansas Insurance Department stands ready to assist Kansans in insurance-related considerations for wildfire safety,” said Ken Selzer, CPA, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance. “Last year’s devastating fire loss throughout the state was a wake-up call for homeowners and property owners to be proactive in reducing the possibility of damage.”
Commissioner Selzer suggests reviewing the following tips prior to any potential fire activity:
- Do a survey of the landscape surrounding your house. Move plants or trees that are too close to your dwelling or burn easily. Clear dead leaves or tree seedlings away from your roof, gutters, decks or fence lines.
- Evaluate openings around your house to see if they can be sealed temporarily. This can keep embers from getting into your structure.
- Store away patio furniture, decorations or other flammable outdoor material.
- Remove landscaping mulch from near your house.
- If evacuation is ordered, shut all doors and windows tightly. Decide in advance what type of emergency kit your family would need, including first aid, blankets, personal hygiene items, prescriptions, cell phones, and clothing. Turn off the gas to your house and hose it down if you have time.
- Keep communication equipment charged and in working order. Be sure your family members know how to contact each other.
- Make sure you have accessible copies of your insurance policies, cards and contact numbers.
Wildfire protection tips such as these are available in the booklet “Wildland Fire Action Guide,” developed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fire Administration, Office of the Kansas Fire Marshal, Kansas Forest Service, and the Kansas State University Cooperative Research and Extension.
The guide is available on the website of the Office of the State Fire Marshal at www.firemarshal.ks.gov. Search “Wildland Fire Action Guide.”
The insurance department also sent copies of the booklet to emergency management coordinators in all 105 Kansas counties. Also included in the information to the emergency personnel were copies of the department’s “Personal Home Inventory” booklet and the latest version of the “Auto and Homeowners Insurance.” Both can be downloaded for consumer use at the department’s website, www.ksinsurance.org.
Representatives staffing the insurance department’s Consumer Assistance Hotline, 800-432-2484, can also assistant insurance policyholders who need questions answered or assistance in dealing with coverage or damage claims.
The Kansas Insurance Department, established in 1871, assists and educates consumers,
regulates and reviews companies, and licenses agents selling insurance products in the state. More about the department is online at www.ksinsurance.org or at www.facebook.com/kansasinsurancedepartment.