GEICO: wildfire safety and preparedness begins at home

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 18, 2015 – Across the country, wildfires greedily consume acres of vegetation and homes each year. With eight new wildfires reported last week alone and severe drought conditions across the country, GEICO urges home and vehicle owners to protect their property and family by preparing now.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) and National Interagency Fire Center, 63,312 wildfires burned approximately 3.6 million acres in 2014, and, as of May 1, 2015, 15,576 wildfires have burned 318,949 acres in the U.S.

While wildfires may be difficult to predict and contain, there are steps that you can take at home to help reduce the chance of the fire spreading to your property. GEICO recommends:

  • Create a defensible space around your home to reduce damage using rock or stone walls, patios, and swimming pools.
  • Cut back brush and clear dead foliage that can quickly catch fire.
  • Plant fire-resistant plants, such as high moisture plants that grow close to the ground.
  • Select building materials that resist fire, such as stone and brick.
  • Make sure your driveway is clear to make a safe exit and allow fire vehicles to get to your home.
  • Plan several escape routes away from your home and move your vehicles to safety if threatened.
  • Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket, and shovel.

GEICO policyholders can log onto GEICO's Claims Center, call (800) 841-3000 or use the new GEICO Mobile App to report a claim 24 hours a day. Commercial vehicle policy holders can call (866) 509-9444 to report a claim at any time.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 27 million vehicles.

To make changes, report claims, print insurance cards and purchase additional products, policyholders can log into their car insurance policy, connect via GEICO Mobile, phone or by visiting a GEICO local agent.

Homeowners, renters, condo, flood, identity theft and life coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto and personal umbrella coverages are also available.

Visit www.geico.com for a quote or to learn more.