United Way offers free fire risk assessment for homes

A new job creation program from the United Way and WorkBC that is being piloted in the Ashcroft/Cache Creek/Clinton area offers eligible homeowners an opportunity to have their property assessed for fire mitigation, and up to 40 qualifying properties will be “fire smarted” by a team of volunteers.

“It’s a pretty thorough assessment,” says Karen Nyce, the area’s Fire Mitigation Project supervisor for United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo. It is directed specifically towards seniors and community members facing mobility and/or mental health barriers who have difficulty, or are unable to complete the activities themselves.

Nyce explains that qualifying homeowners who would like their property assessed for fire hazards can call her office and ask for a free assessment. Community members can also call and ask for an assessment on behalf of someone else who may not be able to do it themselves.

A trained crew will do a formal assessment of the property to identify areas of risk. Nyce explains that they work from the home (Zone 1) outwards, and will cover 11 different categories in three zones, covering everything from the materials used to build the house to the location and type of vegetation on the property.

When the assessment is complete, homeowners will receive a copy of it and see what the recommendations are. They will also receive a package with emergency preparedness information, more information about what to do to safeguard the property, a list of plants that are fire resistant, and resources regarding dealing with stress and mental health.

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