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Wildfire Prevention Tips for Your Apartment Community

· Palo Alto California,Scott Safadi

Is your property prepared for wildfires?

If you don't live in California, chances are good you don't worry about wildfires much. But the reality is that wildfires can and do occur in every state in the country. Wildfire season is 2.5 months longer than it was 30 years ago, with each season seemingly worse than the last. Even if you're not overly concerned about wildfires, Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi recommends taking these steps to prepare for the worst case scenario:

1. Landscape with fire in mind. Gravel walkways can separate vegetation and stop flames in their tracks. Plants that are high in moisture are also great choices. Avoid flammable trees like conifers. Maintenance is critically important: keep your lawn mowed, your trees trimmed and your leaves raked. Limiting what is available to catch on fire is key!

2. Replace building materials with fire-resistant versions. Roofs, decks, siding and fencing can all be replaced with fire-resistant material. Of course, you'd ideally have this in place from the moment your community is built. If you can't afford to replace it all at once, look into flame-retardant coating you can add to existing materials.

3. Create an emergency plan. Work with staff and neighbors to create a plan for emergencies. Whether fire starts in a residence or spreads naturally, you should have an idea in mind of how to best evacuate the community.

4. Invest in ceiling-mounted sprinklers. Adding these to your residences can dramatically reduce the damage fire does to the apartment homes. Though not exactly affordable, they are a great investment. There's even FEMA grants to help with the cost, making ceiling-mounted sprinklers something every landlord should look into.

5. Get covered. What does your insurance policy have to say about fires? Do your tenants have renter's insurance? Will their property be replaced if a wildfire does indeed occur? These are all questions to ask yourself, your tenants and your insurance agent when prepping for wildfires.

6. Store flammable materials safely. If you've got a gas container sitting in a shed that's bound to get tipped over, you could be the one to inadvertently start the next raging wildfire. Store gas containers and other flammable materials in a safe manner.

However you decide to plan for wildfires, do so now. You never know when danger might strike your community.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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