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Amica offers tips to help protect your property from wildfires

06/29/2012

LINCOLN, RI – A devastating Colorado wildfire this week has killed at least one person, destroyed hundreds of buildings and forced more than 30,000 people to evacuate their homes, making it the worst fire in the state’s history, according to news reports. Amica Insurance reminds everyone to be aware of their exposure to wildfire risks and to take steps now to protect their homes and property.

“Wildfires can be terrifying,” said Michael Gillerlane, a senior assistant vice president with Amica Insurance. “They can start suddenly and spread quickly, racing through fields and forest and destroying everything in their path in a matter of minutes.”

It’s important to realize that flames aren’t the only threat in a wildfire, Gillerlane said. The real danger often lies in hot embers that are blown by the wind. These can set fire to grass, trees, bushes and debris – or drift inside a house and cause it to burn from the inside.

That’s why Amica Insurance is sharing some wildfire safety tips from fire safety experts, so people can take steps now to help protect their homes and property.

  • Maintain shrubs and other landscaping at a safe distance from your home and avoid the use of wood, bark and rubber mulch that can easily catch fire.
  • Keep trellises, arbors, playground equipment, boats, RVs, firewood, propane tanks and other combustibles at least 30 feet from your house.
  • Clean debris from your roof and gutters and if possible, install a Class A fire-rated roof covering.
  • Use flame-resistant materials on decks, patios and porches and enclose or screen the area to keep it free from debris.
  • Cover attic and crawlspace vents with 1/8- inch metal screens to help keep out burning embers.

“Most important of all is to have working smoke detectors or alarms on every floor of your home,” Gillerlane said. “Make sure they’re working. Test them monthly and replace the batteries regularly.”

People who live in areas at risk of wildfires also need to pay close attention to weather conditions that make it ripe for wildfires, and for reports of a wildfire that could place them at risk, he said.

“It’s also important to have an evacuation plan in case you need to leave,” Gillerlane said. “Heed the warnings of firefighters and other public safety officials in your community. If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately. Your family’s safety is the top priority.”

For more information about wildfire safety, refer to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s wildfire home assessment and checklist.

About Amica

Amica Mutual Insurance Company, the nation's oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, with corporate headquarters in Lincoln, RI, is a national writer of automobile, homeowners, marine and personal umbrella liability insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,100 people in 40 offices across the country.

CONTACT:Vince Burks, Corporate Communications, 50 Amica Way,

Lincoln, RI 02865-1155, 800-652-6422, ext. 24563

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