Wildfires have become more frequent and intense, often spreading into densely populated suburban neighborhoods where the losses and human suffering are significant. This is a critical time to build wildfire resilience, with homeowners, insurers, communities, and policymakers all having a shared interest in this effort. To do this effectively requires broad adoption of a consistent set of mitigation actions, proven-out by research, to better prepare communities for the growing wildfire threat. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is working toward this set of requisite mitigation actions that, when taken together, will significantly reduce a given property’s wildfire risk. The framework – Wildfire Prepared Home™ – will incorporate available wildfire science, building performance characteristics, data analytics insights, and contributions from a diverse group of wildfire leaders to address today’s wildfire risk with the latest science.
Wildfire Prepared Home will focus on the most effective measures to build wildfire resilience. Taken together, these clearly defined mitigation actions will allow the wildfire resilience of a property to be meaningfully distinguished from unmitigated or partially mitigated properties and can result in a Wildfire Prepared Home designation. Given the dynamic nature of vegetation, terrain, and other fuels on properties and surrounding areas, some mitigation elements will require consistent and recurring maintenance to ensure risk remains reduced.
At the individual home level, researchers have identified the core achievable actions, based on the research in the IBHS Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps, that will allow homeowners to receive a Wildfire Prepared Home designation. These required actions center around the roof, defensible space, and building features. There is a set of additional actions homeowners can take to further reduce risk and receive a more stringent Wildfire Prepared Home + Plus designation.Click Here to Interact and Learn More
The wildfire risk an individual home faces is impacted by characteristics of the neighborhood in which it is located. In addition to the requisite mitigation actions at the individual home level, IBHS will identify the neighborhood characteristics key to wildfire risk during continued development of the program.
The Wildfire Prepared Home program will provide homeowners with a pathway to meet and maintain a three-year designation recognizing their commitment to reducing wildfire risk. The designation process will include an independent inspection and assessment to give homeowners, policymakers, and insurers peace of mind that, based on the latest science, a Wildfire Prepared Home designation indicates a home has been meaningfully distinguished from unmitigated or partially-mitigated properties.
The process will include the following stages:
Before applying for a designation, homeowners will have the opportunity to self-assess their property for compliance with the Wildfire Prepared Home property-level requirements. Using an app or web-based tool, the self-screen will allow homeowners to identify barriers, if any, to achieving a designation and learn the estimated cost range for required mitigation actions.
Homeowners will apply for a designation through the Wildfire Prepared Home portal and pay an application fee. After submitting an application, an IBHS-authorized inspection company will contact the homeowner to conduct an external inspection of the property and take photographs. The documentation will be used to ensure a home meets all Wildfire Prepared Home requirements so IBHS can issue a designation. If the property fails to meet all requirements, the homeowner will be provided a list of outstanding mitigation actions and an opportunity to come into compliance.
Because vigilant maintenance is essential to wildfire mitigation, continued designation under the Wildfire Prepared Home program will require annual demonstration that a home’s landscaping is being maintained within the program requirements. Once a year, designated homeowners will be prompted to self-submit photo documentation through the designation portal.
A Wildfire Prepared Home designation will last for three years with successful completion of the landscape review each year. After that time, the homeowner will need to re-apply for designation through the program portal.