20Sep 2016

Beyond the Heat – The Damaging Effects of Wildfires

California is a beautiful place to live with lots of warm weather and sunshine. Unfortunately, those golden rays can create dangerous conditions.

Wildfires have become an expected disaster every summer. They devastate lives, businesses, natural resources, and agriculture.

In 2016, the Border Fire in San Diego caused two deaths, placing it in the top twenty deadliest California wildfires. The Blue Cut Fire in San Bernardino destroyed 321 structures making it one of the top twenty most damaging fires in California history.

wildfires-danger-sign

Be prepared for wildfires before they start.

Employers should take action now, before a wildfire threatens the workplace. Prepare for a wildfire by developing emergency evacuation and communications plans. Train workers on what to do during a wildfire and conduct fire drills at least every six months.

Stay informed during wildfire season by monitoring your local TV news, and radio stations. The National Weather Service will issue a fire weather watch during potentially dangerous fire weather conditions.

Another, less obvious hazard is poor air quality. Even miles away, a wildfire’s smoke can have damaging effects. Keep in mind some people are more at risk from wildfire smoke, including those with heart or lung diseases, and women who are pregnant.

During a wildfire, regularly check local air quality reports and take steps to keep workers safe:

  • Allow telecommuting when possible
  • Reduce physical activity, especially outdoors
  • Provide respiratory protection, such as N95 filtering facemasks
  • Keep air filters and exposed materials clean

It’s been a busy fire season so far. State Fund is offering extended credit terms to policyholders who are experiencing business disruptions due to the following wildfires:

  • Blue Cut Fire in San Bernardino County
  • Chimney Fire in San Luis Obispo County
  • Clayton Fire in Lake County
  • Sand Fire in Los Angeles County
  • Soberanes Fire in Monterey County

If you are a State Fund policyholder and suffered losses to your business, contact your insurance broker or State Fund to request an extension.

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