Firefighter’s home saved by new insurance benefit
Wildfire Response Endorsement added to State Farm policies in Arizona.
KINGMAN, Ariz. – Kingman resident Mike Britt is somewhat of a journeyman when it comes to fighting forest fires. The Pine Lake Fire Department Captain volunteers his time as a first responder, extinguishing fires and responding to other emergencies in his community.
On April 26, while Mike was away with the Fire Department to help others, his own home was in the path of an approaching wildfire. The Flag Fire, fueled by dense timber and dry flashy fuels, tore through the Hualapai Mountains toward Mike’s home. As ember showers and spot fires erupted ahead of the fire front, which advanced to within 450 feet his property, thanks to a new service provided by State Farm®, his property was saved from wildfire.
On April 1, a complimentary Wildfire Response service was added to all non-tenant homeowners policies in Arizona at no cost to State Farm customers (this service was also added in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington).
Wildfire Defense Systems, Inc., the largest wildfire protection service provider, has been providing firefighting services in 20 states and has monitored over 58,000 wildfires since 2013.
During an active wildfire, if Wildfire Defense determines a home insured by State Farm is at risk, they will deploy a team that will take proactive counter-measures to protect a policyholder’s property.
This team will determine appropriate suppression and mitigation methods that may include:
- Installing temporary sprinkler systems
- Monitoring and extinguishing hotspots
- Removal of combustible materials from around the house (like pine needles, wood furniture, dry brush)
- Covering vents, and closing of doors and windows to keep sparks and embers out
“When we arrived on scene,” Wildfire Defense CEO David Torgerson said, “we noticed several fire risks on the property. A lot of vegetation and timber as well as combustible materials near the home.
“Windy conditions contributed to the spread of the fire and put the home in immediate danger. Our resources were able to suppress the flames and hotspots 25-50 feet from the home and we cold-trailed the property to ensure all residual heat was fully extinguished.”
“We are so grateful for this added benefit on our State Farm policy,” Mike Britt said. “I was gone with the fire department and they arrived on scene to make sure my home and property were protected.”
The Wildfire Defense service is not meant to replace existing wildfire preparation efforts. State Farm encourages customers to always be prepared for the possibility of a catastrophe. Customers living in wildfire- prone areas are encouraged to take appropriate steps to reduce the chance of fire damage, including creating defensible space and reducing flammable vegetation near structures.
Time to prepare is now
Recent wildfire statistics show that proactive mitigation efforts prior to a fire event are critical before evacuation warnings or orders are issued by authorities.
This is why, even with this new benefit in place, State Farm encourages residents to be proactive, to adopt mitigation measures for their properties, and to always be prepared for the possibility of an emergency or catastrophe.
As the weather becomes hot and dry, here are easy and inexpensive ways to create a defensible space around your property:
- Remove dead shrubs, dried grass, fallen branches and dried leaves within 5 feet (and as much as 100 feet) around your property.
- Keep your roof and gutters clear of debris, such as leaves or pine needles, and remove overhanging branches.
- Keep grass and weeds mowed.
- Fill five feet around the base of the structure(s) with fire resistant plants or materials, such as gravel.