USA — West coast regional insurer CIG shares five fire safety tips after the one-year anniversary of the San Diego fires, which caused the largest evacuation in California’s history and destroyed at least 1,500 homes. Fortunately, each one of CIG’s homeowner clients that were affected by the 2007 San Diego fires have rebuilt or are in the process of rebuilding their homes.
In the event of a loss, CIG pays up to twice the insured value of the home, if that’s what it actually costs to rebuild (see Think Twice coverage athttp://www.cig-home.com). Its FastTrack Claim Center provides its policy clients with quick recovery assistance. The Larsons and Wagners of Rancho Bernardo were two of the first families to receive permits to rebuild their homes in San Diego County. “I really appreciate CIG,” said Ralph Wagner. “I know a lot of people who lost their homes in the fires and had nightmarish experiences with their insurance companies. I’ve recommended CIG to all of them.” Both families found themselves in fortuitous situations when CIG responded quickly to their claims and with more money than they had expected. Earlier this year, CIG became the first home insurer to endorse the California Department of Insurance legal opinion supporting homeowners’ rights to purchase an already built home at a new location using replacement cost insurance coverage. In commemoration of the fires, and to promote fire safety, CIG is issuing fire safety tips for homeowners. “Fire season has started again, and we want to remind homeowners that this is also the season to take precautions for our safety,” said CIG President Peter Cazzolla. “Our five tips will help homeowners prevent a fire or respond to one.” The following tips offered by CIG are meant to supplement other necessary tools and actions to increase fire safety, such as smoke detectors and alarms, sprinklers, escape-route planning, extinguishers, and fire blankets. 1. Defend your space. Prevent a fire from spreading into your property by maintaining a clear, defensible space around your home. Fire-conscious landscaping will stop a fire. Choose ice plants and burn-resistant ground cover. Trim back encroaching trees and bushes. Clear dry brush. Clearance to 100 feet dramatically increases the chance of a house surviving a wildfire. 2. Put it out quickly. Fill a light metal bucket with sand and keep next to ovens, barbeques, and other areas where fires can occur. Dump sand on a fire to starve it of oxygen. Oil fires are resistant to water, so a fire sand bucket may be the only way to put out the fire. Add fire extinguishers for the garage, kitchen or laundry room. 3. Don’t get locked in. Have a plan for getting out of every spot in the house in the event of a fire. Practice your evacuation routes and designate a spot to meet on the outside. Make sure that locks and security bars include a quick-release device so they can be opened immediately from the inside. Get out quickly and leave the house unlocked to make it easier for firefighters to enter. 4. Open doors carefully. If smoke is filling the room, keep your head down and use a wet hand towel to cover your mouth and eyes. Move quickly or crawl under the smoke. Don’t go through doors before checking for heat between the door and its frame. Use the back of your hand to touch a doorknob first. Don’t just grab it. If you sense there’s heat on the other side, don’t open the door. Look for an alternate escape route. If the door is fairly cool, still use caution when opening it. Open slowly, and if any heat or smoke comes out, close it quickly and securely and proceed to another route. 5. Call for help. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Once you’re outside, take a head count. Alert the firefighters if someone’s missing. DO NOT go back into the house. They are well trained and equipped to rescue people safely. Most local fire and public safety departments offer information and assistance in preparing your family and your home for a fire emergency. Safety professionals may also offer advice and walk-through audits to reduce your fire risk and secure your home with fire safety devices. About CIG CIG is the Capital Insurance Group(R), a 110-year-old property and casualty insurer serving the Western U.S. states of California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Washington. The company is rated ‘A’ (Excellent) by A.M. Best, the independent financial monitor of the insurance industry. CIG manages personal, business and agriculture risks underwritten by its four affiliates: California Capital Insurance Company, Eagle West Insurance Company, Nevada Capital Insurance Company, and Monterey Insurance Company. Types of policies may vary from state to state.