With all the fires raging across Southern California as of right now, tens of thousands of families are being evacuated from their homes. The Holy Fire that firefighters are currently battling is one of California’s biggest fire in history. The damage is wreaking havoc across Riverside and Orange counties. Starting in the Cleveland National Forest on August 6th, it is still only 5% contained as of today. All across Southern California, school districts such as Menifee, Perris, and Lake Elsinore have been evacuated. On top of that, many homes have already been damaged or destroyed.
When you become at risk for an evacuation, how prepared are you? Do you have enough insurance? Based upon our experience with working on wildfire damage, we estimate at least 30% of people do not carry enough insurance to rebuild. You have to take into account the costs for demolition, plans, permits engineering, site cleanup and other ongoing costs that are on top of the build costs. With that being said, preparation and being properly insured is essential. Aside from that, there’s also other important measures that should be taken in the event of a wildfire evacuation.
If you get evacuated from your home during a fire, here are some of the steps you should take:
Get plenty of documentation on your belongings.
Make note of all your possessions before evacuating. In the event your home does get damaged, it can be difficult to remember everything you own in the house. If you do not have proper documentation of your possessions, it will be difficult to get paid by your insurance company. One easy way to do this is to do a walk through of your house and record a video of the whole process. Make sure you’re also going through closets, cabinets, etc. to document the contents in there too.
Take your luxury and specialty items with you.
If you have expensive items like jewelry, guns, furs, coins, etc. you should bring those with you if time permits. However, it’s best to get those insured ahead of time because those items as it will not be typically covered by your basic insurance plan. In addition, there may be other structures on your property that may not be covered. For example, if you have a nice outdoor area, it may need separate coverage for that space.
Gather important documentation for you and your family.
Don’t forget to gather all your crucial documents such as driver’s license, passport, birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, wills, property deeds, etc. Basically any legal, financial, or insurance paperwork should be taken with you. If you also keep cash or checkbooks in your home, you should also bring that with you in case you need to make emergency purchases such as hotel accommodations. If you have important keys to places like storage units, safe deposit boxes, etc. you should also bring those with you. It is smart to keep them all in one place so you can easily grab and go when the time for evacuation comes.
Bring your medication and supplies.
Take all your required prescription medication for you and your family members. You should also remember to bring medical items that you may not use on a regular basis, but may need in the case of an emergency. Don’t forget other medical supplies like inhalers and EpiPens – you never know if you’ll need them.
Pack basic necessities.
This could include a few extra change of clothes, jackets, sleeping bags, flashlights, food and water, glasses and contact lenses, and other hygiene products like toothbrushes, pads, wet wipes, and diapers.
Take care of your pets.
Pets are also part of your family, so it goes without being said that you need to prioritize them too. When there is an impending emergency, it is smart to create a pet evacuation kit ahead of time so you won’t have to scramble for pet items later. Some basic necessities to keep are a leash, cage, water, food, and blanket.
Gather your comfort and irreplaceable items.
If you have any items of sentimental value to you and cannot be easily replaced, you can grab these if there is enough time. Examples would be photographs that don’t have digital backups, family heirlooms, and collectibles.
Prep the inside and outside of your house.
Here are some of the preparation steps you should take inside and outside your home, according to CAL Fire.
- Close all windows and doors
- Remove flammable window shades and curtains
- Shut off gas at the meter
- Move furniture towards center of the room, away from windows
- Shut off propane tanks and move propane appliances away from your home
- Gather flammable outdoor items like patio furniture, doormats, and toys and bring them inside
- Leave outdoor lights on so firefighters can see better in the smoke or dark
- Turn off pool pumps – heavy ash and debris can block your pumps and cause it to overheat and stop functioning
Was Your Inland Empire Home Affected By A Wildfire?
Fire & Smoke Damage Remediation
Paul Davis Restoration of Inland Empire can help. We serve residents in Corona, Riverside, and all across the Inland Empire. We are dedicated professionals focused on helping victims restore their homes and business after fire and smoke damage.
We Handle the Process from Start to Finish
Inspection. Insurance. Clean Up. Repairs.
Like many other homeowners in your area, you’ve returned home to fire and smoke damage and you’re not quite sure what the next step is. We’re here to help! We’ll work with your insurance company and help you every step of the way through this difficult time. We’ve been helping homeowners such as yourself recover from the damage and loss from brush fires for over 25 years. With Paul Davis Restoration you’re guaranteed to get expertise in:
- Certified Smoke & Fire Damage Remediation
- Board-up and Building Stabilization
- Reconstruction & Repairs
- Contents Cleaning and Total Loss Assessment
At Paul Davis Restoration, we pride ourselves on our reputation for performance, integrity and responsibility. There’s no better team to rejuvenate your property.
We work with your insurance through the whole process
Here’s just a sample of the insurance companies we work with