The Thomas Fire has proven what firefighters themselves have been saying lately, and that is there is no “fire season in California any longer. It’s become a year-round occurrence.”
The costs associated with this year’s wildfires have topped $65 billion. The question is what are you, the homeowner, to do about it?
First of all, you have to understand the statistics, and the first one is that fewer than 40 percent of the all homes that are destroyed in wildfires are actually in the direct path of the fire. The majority are caused by burning embers, traveling sometime miles, finding their way onto rooftops, under eaves, atop wood decks, into attic space, etc. That means even with plenty of clearance, embers can travel past and get to your home.
Second, the majority of homeowners have Class A-rated shingles, concrete or ceramic tiles. Even with roofing materials that don’t burn, however, the heat that transfers through to the plywood decking underneath can combust. Then, there goes the rest of your house, sometimes within minutes.
And for those of you who are thinking that you’re going to stand on your roof defending your home with a water hose, think again, especially with winds that accelerate to more than 50 mph.
Fires are serious and unpredictable but, according to Jim Moseley, CEO of SunFire Defense, aside from the required clearance of brush and unwanted timber, wood chips, etc., SunFire Defense offers a few options that are used and available.
What follows are the benefits and limitations of these products and services. All are performed by licensed contractors.
» Foams that the fire department uses that are effective just before the fire arrives that last up to 30 minutes.
» Gels that last four to eight hours, unless you have an automatic system to rehydrate to extend the effective time. Gels give full protection to the structure, and are especially effective in protecting windows. However, if the fire doesn’t reach the structure or takes an alternate path, the time and money is wasted. That also doesn’t preclude a new fire developing and, with changing winds, heading back your way.
» For $3 a square foot, Sunfire Defense has a more permanent solution called SPF3000 clear spray that protects up to 3,000 degrees and comes with a five-year warranty. With wildfires burning at over 2,000 degrees, it offers the most permanent protection for wood and stucco. For a small additional free, the licensed contractor that applies the product also can help with additional clearance. Any removal of leaves, pine needles and any other combustible materials on the roof are part of prepping or power washing, free of charge.
» The only disadvantage is that the fire-affected areas will still be charred. That’s still better than having your house burn completely and the possibility of losing your life or those of your loved ones, as well as losing items that you treasure and that are irreplaceable.
» You can save money on this application by applying the product while you’re painting your home. The SPF3000 clear spray mixes well with most water-based paints.
» Window coverings are also available from SunFire defense. Made from the fire blanket material on the space shuttle, the coverings keep the flames and radiant heat from blowing out your windows. The coverings work much like a hurricane shutter and can be deployed manually or automatically.
» Financing is available for the more permanent solutions, and in most cases it runs between $200 and $500 depending on the size of your home. Annual testing of the spray is also included to make sure that the treated areas are weathering well and are meeting a blowtorch test.
Important information to note is that, on average, less than 70 percent of the value of the home and contents are covered and replaced by their insurance carriers. Regular updates are required for the value of contents, and the difference is dramatic in what it would cost to rebuild your home today versus what it cost to build just 20 years ago.
In addition, the cost to relocate into a dwelling at the same standard of living at the time of the damage or total destruction may not be fully covered. In most cases it will take months before the reconstruction of your home can even begin.
Taking any or all of these steps in protecting your own home goes far in the eyes of fire departments. They only have so many resources to fight the fire and they have to prioritize. If you have your “Protected by SunFire Defense sign in your yard or sticker in your window it will let them know that you’ve taken some or all of the steps to protecting your home. That may leave them with the only quick job of foaming or applying gel to your windows, before they can quickly move onto the next home.
Remember, if your house is the unlucky one to catch fire while unprotected it can then arc to the next house and the next. With SunFire Defense protection, your insurance company will love you and may give you up to 20 percent off of the fire insurance portion of your homeowners policy.
Taking these proactive steps for your home could end up saving your neighbors as well. For more information, call Jim Moseley at 818.486.4662 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— This sponsored feature is brought to you by SunFire Defense. To learn more about SunFire Defense and its fire products and services, visit www.sunfiredefense.com, or call Jim Moseley at 818.486.4662 or email him at email@example.com.