Protect your home from wildfires

By Meaghan Archer

With increasingly warmer and drier spring and summer conditions, Alberta faces a lot more risk when it comes to wildfires. Keep your family, your home and your belongings safe from local wildfires with these tips.

Before wildfire seasons starts:

— Make sure your insurance policies are up to date, that your belongings are adequately insured, and your policy includes any renovations or significant home updates you’ve made.

— Check your insurance policies to make sure you are covered for liability and special items (like boats, idle cars, etc.) and find out the details for what you’re covered for in case of emergency—many policies will cover a certain amount of living expenses if forced out of home.

— During spring clean up, clear away any brush or leafy debris from your yard.

— Prepare an itemized list of all your belongings and keep it in a safe space or submit it to your insurance company to keep on file.

— Keep at least one charged and up-to-date fire extinguisher in your home and make sure everyone in the household knows how to use it and where it’s located.

— Prepare emergency kits and go-bags that include essentials, like a change of clothes and a week’s worth of medication, to keep in your car or in an easy-to-access area in case you need to take off quickly.

What to do if there are wildfires in your area:

— Pay attention to Alberta Emergency Alerts and local news outlets for wildfire updates, and evacuation alerts and orders.

— Keep important documents, like passports, ID, insurance policies, etc. and other critical items, such as prescription medication together so it’s easy to gather when it’s time to leave.

— Keep receipts for food, lodging and other expenses you may incur if required to evacuate. Many insurance policies allow you to submit emergency expenses for reimbursement.

— Keep your vehicle’s gas tank topped up—AMA members save 3 cents a litre at Shell stations.

Connect with an AMA Insurance advisor before the season starts for any policy updates or questions you have about extended coverage.