Non-profit refining framework with key stakeholders as new research expands the Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps
Connie Bryant Breedlove
Managing Director, Communications
Public Relations Manager
Richburg, S.C., December 15, 2021 – The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) today announced it has advanced its Wildfire Prepared Home™ designation program after working closely with stakeholders since plans to establish a standard were first shared in August 2021. Wildfire Prepared Home is a research-based standard that distinguishes a home as wildfire-resilient. The new designations should be available in the summer of 2022.
As wildfires have become a more frequent and intense hazard to suburban areas, homeowners, insurers, communities and policymakers alike have a shared interest in building wildfire resilience to reduce both human suffering and property loss. Recognizing that effectively reducing risk will require broad adoption of a consistent set of research-based actions, the non-profit has laid out the set of requisite mitigation actions that, when taken together, will significantly reduce a given property’s wildfire risk. Throughout development of Wildfire Prepared Home, IBHS has engaged a broad set of stakeholders, including representatives of CAL FIRE and the California Department of Insurance, to ensure the program creates both a meaningful reduction in risk and is achievable for homeowners.
“We are bringing wildfire science to bear to help homeowners and communities adapt to the growing threat of wildfires. Together, research, data analytics and insights from other leaders in the wildfire space are making this possible,” explains Roy Wright, president and CEO of IBHS. “We know enough now to define a series of pragmatic and effective actions while research continues to advance our knowledge. We can’t wait to start implementing what we know will make a difference now.”
Wildfire Prepared Home designations will initially be available for single-family homes in California. A self-screen process before applying for designation will help homeowners understand the requirements for the
program and whether their home qualifies or will need further mitigation. Homeowners who receive a designation will also commit to maintain their property for the duration of the designation because of the necessity of impeccably maintained defensible space to ensure a property remains wildfire resistant.
Wildfire Prepared Home is rooted in the science presented in the Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps, originally released in August 2020, and based on a decade of research at the IBHS Research Center, as well as learnings from other leaders in wildfire science. IBHS has now updated the Roadmaps to include new research from 2021 and will continue with updates in future years as research advances, ensuring Wildfire Prepared Home remains reflective of the latest science.
“The Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps bring together years of wildfire research, insights and engineering knowledge. Now, Wildfire Prepared Home will translate our detailed technical reports into an applicable standard for homeowners to meet,” says Murray Morrison, PhD, managing director of research at IBHS. “While we have the research needed to build the foundation of Wildfire Prepared Home, we will continue to pursue wildfire science and quickly integrate new findings into the Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps and Wildfire Prepared Home.”
The draft Wildfire Prepared Home framework outlines the proposed requirements to meet and maintain designation in the program, as well as additional actions to receive a more stringent Wildfire Prepared Home + Plus designation. Because the risk an individual home faces is impacted by characteristics of the neighborhood in which it is located, IBHS is working to identify the neighborhood characteristics key to reducing wildfire risk during continued development of the program.
IBHS will update wildfireprepared.org periodically as the program is advanced.
About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Learn more about IBHS at DisasterSafety.org.