Obviously, keeping your family and property safe is the highest priority for you. Looking at the heartbreaking videos for the recent wildfires in Southern California should make you all the more determined. Maybe your home is close to a potential fire zone and maybe it isn’t… you think. Why not take steps now to protect that which you value the most.

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety posted an excellent set of tips on keeping your home safe:

– Maintain Defensible Space (0–5 feet) – Use noncombustible materials such as gravel, brick, or concrete in this critical area adjacent to your home.

– Maintain Defensible Space (5–30 feet) – Remove shrubs under trees, prune branches that overhang your roof, thin trees, and remove dead vegetation. Move trailers/RVs and storage sheds from area, or build defensible space around these items.

– Reduce Siding Risks – Maintain 6-inch ground-to-siding clearance, and consider noncombustible siding.

– Clean Debris from Roof – Regularly remove debris from your roof, since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers.

– Use a Class-A Roof Covering – Class A fire-rated roofing products offer the best protection for homes.

– Clean Out Gutters Regularly – Keep debris out of gutters since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers. If used, gutter covers should be noncombustible.

– Reduce Fence Risks – Burning fencing can generate embers and cause direct flame contact to your home. Use noncombustible fences and gates.

– Keep Embers out of Eaves and Vents – Use 1/8-inch mesh to cover vents, and box-in open eaves to create a soffited eave.

– Protect Windows – Use multi-pane, tempered glass windows, and close them when a wildfire threatens.

– Reduce Deck Risks – At a minimum, use deck boards that comply with California requirements for new construction in wildfire-prone areas, remove combustibles under deck, and maintain effective defensible space.

You should also have a disaster plan and use it. This should include: A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area; several different escape routes from your home and community; and a Family Communication Plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation.

Don’t take a chance with the well-being of your family and the safety of your home. Be sure you have the right insurance resources available to you should a disaster strike. Check with your insurance professional to make sure you have enough coverage to deal with any eventuality.