Is Your Business Prepared for Wildfire Season? 

Although wildfires can occur at any time throughout the year, they are most common between April and October. Significant portions of the United States are at risk of experiencing the effects of wildfires, particularly in the western and southern regions. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are currently 18 large, active fires in the US. 

In 2023 we have already seen that Canada is experiencing its “most destructive wildfire season on record” and the effects of those wildfires have also been seen as far away as Europe in the form of a large smoke plume. In the U.S. we have also experienced the extremely poor air quality that is a result of these fires, especially in cities such as New York.

Fire risk is elevated by a number of factors, including hot and dry weather conditions, high fuel amounts, types of vegetation, human activities like fireworks or unsafe campfires, electrical hazards and climate change.

Here are a few of our tips to protect yourself, your business and your property during wildfire season:

  1. Assess your property for potential risk – Do this first so you can find areas where you have an opportunity to improve. You can also check your level of risk based on your location and how prone to fires your area is. Also check to see if you are in an area with a high concentration of fire fuel or vegetation.
  2. Protect your property with fuel gaps and fire-resistant landscaping – Once you have identified areas of potential risk, take steps to mitigate them. Create cleared zones around your property that will stop embers from jumping from one fuel source to another. Consider planting fire-resistant plants and keep trees and shrubs pruned. Always make sure to remove any dead vegetation as well.
  3. Create an Emergency Plan – You may already have emergency procedures in place for fire or other emergencies, but it is helpful to create a plan specifically tailored to wildfires. Don’t forget to include contact information for the appropriate local authorities, evacuation routes, meeting points and locations for emergency supply kits. Distribute your plan to employees and ensure they feel confident and able to follow it if need be.
  4. Review your insurance coverage – There are quite a few types of insurance that can help protect businesses against wildfires, including:
    1. Commercial Property Insurance: Property insurance covers damage or loss to your building, equipment, inventory, and other physical assets due to fire or other effects of the fire, such as smoke damage. It can also provide coverage for business interruption, helping to compensate for lost income during the time your business is unable to operate due to a covered event.
    2. Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. It helps cover medical expenses, disability benefits, and lost wages for employees who are injured on the job. It is typically required by law.
    3. General Liability Insurance: This provides coverage for third-party claims related to bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury that may occur on business premises. It can help protect against lawsuits and medical expenses resulting from accidents or involving customers, suppliers, or other individuals entering the space.
    4. Environmental Liability Insurance: In some cases, businesses may need supplemental insurance to make sure they’re covered against environmental events such as wildfires. It can help businesses in areas that are highly prone to these disasters make sure they have the security they need.

Our friendly associates would love to assist you with analyzing your risk, preparing your business and finding the insurance coverage you need!
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