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Why Wildfire Victims Need to Beware of Fraudulent Contractors

Posted on November 02, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll

The recent wildfires destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in Northern California and left others in need of urgent repairs. With their lives upended, many residents are looking to start over and return to their former routines as quickly as possible. But those rebuilding after the wildfires need to move cautiously, as conditions are ripe for contractor scams. Unfortunately, history has shown that after a catastrophe, there are many bad actors ready and willing to take advantage of the vulnerable.

Contractors (especially good ones) are in high demand following a disaster. At the same time, there’s a lot of money available to the construction industry due to payouts from insurance policies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Read more

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My Go Bag

Posted on October 12, 2017 by Joy Lanzaro

One woman’s thoughts on what to pack in an emergency

by Joy Lanzaro, Director, Mediation and Compliance

Few of us have ever witnessed fire damage to residential and commercial structures like we’ve seen in the North Bay over the past few days. Many of us are experiencing a combination of emotions as a result, and anxiety is running high. One way to be prepared and manage anxiety is to put together a “Go Bag” just in case you need to quickly evacuate. My Go Bag is tiny because I’m single—one dog, no kids. Nearly all of my financial and insurance business is transacted online, so that eliminates some documentation. Read more

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Creating a Fire-Safe Defensible Space

Posted on September 08, 2017 by James Florence

One of the most critical aspects of fire safety is creating a “defensible space” around your home: a 100-foot radius of property that’s specifically maintained to minimize fire risks. However, defensible space is often misunderstood—a lot of people think it merely consists of clearcutting all trees, shrubs and bushes within 100 feet of their homes, but this oversimplifies the matter. In reality, creating a defensible space involves a specific strategy.

A properly designed defensible space consists of two zones: Zone 1, which extends 30 feet from the house, and Zone 2, which extends 70 feet from Zone 1. In Zone 1, any dead vegetation should be removed or, in the case of grass and weeds, Read more

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Posted in: Home Tips, Landscaping Tips
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How to Use a Fire Extinguisher | Infographic

Posted on August 11, 2017 by Jennifer Chan

Remember P.A.S.S when you need to use a fire extinguisher

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher Read more

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Fire-Safe 2017: Defending Your Home Against Wildfires

Posted on July 03, 2017 by James Florence

This year’s ample rain brought relief from the longstanding drought, but its deferred aftereffects have many California residents feeling an opposite sentiment. Following a profusion of spring growth, the onset of summer heat has transformed the landscape’s verdant splendor into a dry tinder, setting the stage for what fire authorities predict to be a harsh wildfire season. So far, this forecast appears to be accurate: According to a recent CNBC report, as of June 24, the amount of California acreage burned by wildfires is up threefold compared to this time in 2016.

While most of the fires thus far have taken place in Southern California, the state’s northern regions have an equally incendiary potential, Read more

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How to Select a Fire Extinguisher for Your Home

Posted on August 11, 2016 by Jennifer Chan

how to choose a fire extinguisher

  • Pick a fire extinguisher classified as A:B:C to fight three kinds of fire (combustible, flammable liquids and electrical).
  • Select the largest fire extinguisher that you and your family members can comfortably operate.
  • Stock at least one fire extinguisher on each floor of your home.

For more details on selecting and using a fire extinguisher, check out this article from This Old House.

For fire extinguisher ratings, read about fire extinguishers at Consumer Reports. Read more

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Fire Away! 4 Hot Tips for a Fire-Safe Summer

Posted on July 07, 2015 by James Florence

So, you survived the 4th of July without any major fire-related catastrophes. However, just because the fireworks have subsided (for the most part—watch out for stragglers), it doesn’t mean you can cruise through the rest of fire season on autopilot. To make sure you have your bases covered in terms of fire safety, take a look at this checklist:

1. Make sure your smoke detectors are operational. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been tempted to remove the batteries from a smoke alarm—especially by the 27th time you inadvertently set it off while cooking bacon. However, in the event of a legitimate fire emergency, having your smoke detectors out of commission can carry dire consequences. Read more

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