Always be prepared: GEICO shares helpful tips on wildfires

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2016 – If you live in dry climates, wildfires can strike without warning, causing major damage to your property and possessions. The National Interagency Fire Center recently forecasted that the West and Southwest states including Alaska and Hawaii face an elevated wildfire risk this summer.

GEICO is offering the following tips to help protect your families and minimize your losses during a wildfire:

Create a defensible space

Defensible space is an area surrounding your property that serves to reduce the threat of an oncoming wildfire. Within the space, remove all flammable vegetation, trim shrubs and trees, and clear dead foliage that can catch fire quickly.

Fireproof your home

Try to invest in non-combustible or fire resistant building materials, such as slate, tile, sheet iron, aluminum, brick or stone, for constructing roofs, fences and other exterior structures in your home.

Update your vent covers

Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent embers and hot gases from entering your home.

Have handy tools available

A ladder, rake, axe, handsaw, chainsaw, bucket and shovel are great fire tools to have at your disposal. Keep these items in your home at all times.

Develop an emergency plan

Plan several escape routes away from your neighborhood. Designate a meeting place for family members away from your home.

Create your emergency kit

Restock your emergency kit, including important documents, prescriptions, IDs, flashlights, batteries and first aid supplies.

Follow the forecast

Stay tuned in to phone alerts, TV or radio for weather updates and evacuation orders. Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans.

Call your insurance carrier

Review your homeowner and vehicle insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage. Also, update your home inventory list and photograph the inside and outside of your home.

For more information on how to protect your family, home and vehicle from severe weather, visit GEICO's Catastrophe Center. GEICO policyholders who need to report a loss can log on to the new mobile app, GEICO's Claims Center, or call (800) 841-3000 24 hours a day.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 14 million private passenger customers and insures more than 23 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

Using GEICO's online service center, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can also connect to GEICO through the GEICO App, reach a representative over the phone or visit a GEICO local agent.

GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.

For more information, go to www.geico.com.