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ClevelandBronco
09-21-2010, 02:30 PM
This thread isn't inherently political, but it seemed like it belonged in here anyway. The short story is that a private firefighting force was hired to defend several specific homes in a wildfire burn zone. I'm fine with a market-based approach, but I'm curious as to whether some of us here might have a problem with it.

[ Background: Colorado just endured the most expensive wildfire in its history. You can see a slide show of some of the damage here: http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2010/09/aerial-photos-of-houses-in-the-burn-zone/#name%20here ]

So here's the article:

Fire crews for hire: Added protection during Fourmile blaze came at a price
Wildfire was first in Colo. fought partly by insurance company firefighters
By John Aguilar, Camera Staff Writer
Posted: 09/20/2010 09:57:07 PM MDT

Among the more than 1,000 firefighters and 100 engines that responded to the Fourmile Fire, which broke out Sept. 6 in the foothills west of Boulder, was a contingent of 13 fully certified wildland firefighters whose mission it was to save a select group of homes.

They drove five fully equipped engines loaded with fire retardant up Sunshine Canyon Drive and Sugarloaf Road, easily passing through heavily manned checkpoints and down smoke-shrouded roads, to their customers' homes.

The homeowners getting the extra protection weren't secretly paying off local fire departments or federal officials for the special treatment. Rather, they were customers of Chubb, an insurance company that focuses on writing policies for high-end customers with high-value properties.

The New Jersey-based company has been offering Chubb Wildfire Defense Services for the past three years to its policyholders in 14 western states, including Colorado. The primary goal of the service, which is part of a homeowner's hazard insurance policy, is to help customers create defensible space and reduce fire danger around their home.

But if a wildfire should ignite and come within three miles of the home or prompt an evacuation from the area, Chubb will dispatch trained firefighters in certified wildland engines to the fire zone to protect customers' houses.

The Fourmile Fire, which destroyed 169 homes and caused an estimated $217 million in damage, is the first Colorado wildfire in which firefighters hired by an insurance company worked alongside the traditional assortment of local, state and federal emergency personnel.

Carole Walker, executive director of Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, expects the trend to grow.

"As the wildfire threat has grown across the country, you're seeing these types of added protections crop up," she said. "It's another example of what insurance companies are doing to market themselves in a competitive marketplace."

'Not a guarantee'

In the case of the Fourmile Fire, Chubb's proactive measures were only partly successful. Three policyholders lost their homes while at least 10 customers' homes -- located directly in the burn zone -- remain intact.

Company spokesman Dave Hilgen said the fire was so fierce and wind-driven on the first day that nobody was able to get control of it initially.

"It's an additional service that helps protect homes," he said. "But it's not a guarantee."

He said homes belonging to Chubb customers in other wildfire-prone states, like California, have been saved in past fires by company-hired personnel.

Chubb did manage to get its firefighters, contracted through Red Lodge, Mont.-based Wildfire Defense Systems, to a number of customers' homes in the Fourmile Fire burn zone while the fire was still a threat. Though they didn't have to spray their Thermo-Gel fire retardant on any houses, the firefighters extinguished small fires on the properties, moved flammable furniture away from homes and closed windows that had been left open.

"With open windows, you're just asking for embers to get into the house," Hilgen said.

He said the company also guarded policyholders' homes on the periphery of the burn zone, a critical move in the early going, when it wasn't certain which direction the Fourmile Fire was headed.

Dave Torgerson, president of Wildfire Defense Systems, said his organization gauges which of the homes belonging to Chubb customers are in greatest danger and acts accordingly.

"We triage which properties are most threatened and go to those properties first," he said.

Janice Wheeler, who lost her house on County Road 83 to the Fourmile Fire, likes the sound of Chubb's wildfire protection plan.

"I think it would be a very nice service to have," she said. "I would like to know that someone was specifically looking out for my house."

But Wheeler, an Allstate customer, wasn't entirely comfortable with the notion that people of higher means could buy additional protection for their homes when others couldn't.

"When you don't have that policy and someone else does, it sets up a have and have-nots kind of feeling," she said.

Greg Cortopassi, whose home near Gold Hill suffered severe smoke damage but survived the blaze, thinks Chubb's protection plan is brilliant.

"Wow, I'm impressed," said the long-time State Farm customer. "I think it's an incredibly active stance. This is something that I'd like to see the other companies moving forward with."

But only, he said, if they are professional and competent.

"You can get in the way and not actually do anything helpful," Cortopassi said.

'We don't do anything without approval'

Mike Chard, director of the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, said Chubb isn't allowed to simply enter a fire zone whenever it likes and however it likes.

The company's access to any wildfire zone in Boulder County is part of a memorandum of understanding it hammered out with the county earlier this year. It is the only insurance company to have such an arrangement with the county, Chard said.

"The main purpose was to get this agreement so that the county knew exactly what was going into a fire zone," Chard said.

The agreement spells out that Chubb's firefighters can't use their resources to "perform structure firefighting" and are "not wildfire first responders." They are limited to undertaking "pre-suppression activities," which includes doing fuel mitigation, setting up sprinkler systems and spraying fire-blocking gels on homes.

The insurance company's firefighters must have all the proper credentials, training and equipment -- including compatible radios -- and must get clearance from the incident command post before entering the fire zone.

"We don't do anything without approval from incident command," Chubb's Hilgen said. "We don't move."

Chard said he received no complaints about Chubb's firefighters being on the scene and considers them valuable resources in the fight against the 6,200-acre blaze.

For those worried about what will happen if enough insurance companies follow Chubb's lead -- creating a traffic jam of private firefighting brigades all trying to protect their customers' homes during the next wildfire -- industry spokesman Walker said don't be.

"Do I see every policyholder having their own fire department?" she asked. "I don't think that's likely."

ClevelandBronco
09-21-2010, 02:32 PM
My interpretation of the last paragraph: "Don't worry about a bunch of Keystone firefighters running all over a burn zone. Most people couldn't afford them anyway."

Bewbies
09-21-2010, 02:32 PM
I like it.

blaise
09-21-2010, 02:37 PM
As long as they're not using the municipal equipment or inhibiting the local fire department then what's wrong with it? I like the one person saying, "It creates a have and have not kind of feeling" Guess what? I bet you have more than quite a few people in your state, why don't you go give them your stuff?

ClevelandBronco
09-21-2010, 02:38 PM
Doesn't the fact that taxpayer-financed central command is extending logistical support to private firefighters mean that that should be a billable event? That is, shouldn't the government be able to bill for any support it provided to the company?

ClevelandBronco
09-21-2010, 02:39 PM
Inevitably some day in the future one of these private squads is going to have to be rescued. How should that be handled?

Pitt Gorilla
09-21-2010, 02:39 PM
I was a member of a volunteer fire department for years (my dad donated the land and financed the building). I bet we could have charged for services.

chiefsnorth
09-21-2010, 02:39 PM
As long as they're not using the municipal equipment or inhibiting the local fire department then what's wrong with it? I like the one person saying, "It creates a have and have not kind of feeling" Guess what? I bet you have more than quite a few people in your state, why don't you go give them your stuff?

Well, this is the age we live in. If one person has something others don't have, people start crying about "fairness" and want the government to step in.

ClevelandBronco
09-21-2010, 02:42 PM
As long as they're not using the municipal equipment or inhibiting the local fire department then what's wrong with it? I like the one person saying, "It creates a have and have not kind of feeling" Guess what? I bet you have more than quite a few people in your state, why don't you go give them your stuff?

How can you put a price on feelings, you heartless so-and-so?

ClevelandBronco
09-21-2010, 02:43 PM
I was a member of a volunteer fire department for years (my dad donated the land and financed the building). I bet we could have charged for services.

Especially after the fire started.

FishingRod
09-21-2010, 03:03 PM
I was a member of a volunteer fire department for years (my dad donated the land and financed the building). I bet we could have charged for services.

My brother has a lake place on Monkey island on Grand lake that for years had a volunteer Fire department. Funds for the equipment were raised though various charitable activities that for the most part centered around drinking. I have been giving for years. Recently the home owners association raised their rates in order to pay for a "professional" to be on staff. The reason for this was that it made a huge difference in how the homeowners insurance rates were figured and it saved everyone a pile of money. Go figure.

Pitt Gorilla
09-21-2010, 03:08 PM
My brother has a lake place on Monkey island on Grand lake that for years had a volunteer Fire department. Funds for the equipment were raised though various charitable activities that for the most part centered around drinking. I have been giving for years. Recently the home owners association raised their rates in order to pay for a "professional" to be on staff. The reason for this was that it made a huge difference in how the homeowners insurance rates were figured and it saved everyone a pile of money. Go figure.Oh, yeah, our fundraisers were incredible. I mean, it was a VERY small town, but we had dug a pit and smoked meats and sold tickets to the feed for like $5 + donations. We typically did well enough to support the new equipment and had a great time.

BucEyedPea
09-21-2010, 04:32 PM
But....but...but the people can never spontaneously take care of their communities !

Taco John
09-21-2010, 05:02 PM
Inevitably some day in the future one of these private squads is going to have to be rescued. How should that be handled?

Local arbitration...

orange
09-21-2010, 05:37 PM
Inevitably some day in the future one of these private squads is going to have to be rescued. How should that be handled?

I would agree with that, absolutely. Also subject to fines for getting in the way like any citizen.

I also have a little problem with this:

They are limited to undertaking "pre-suppression activities," which includes doing fuel mitigation, setting up sprinkler systems and spraying fire-blocking gels on homes.

Setting up sprinklers? Ordinary people are often prohibited, even arrested, for using sprinklers when it cuts into the water pressure. I see lawsuits aplenty coming.

vailpass
09-21-2010, 05:41 PM
I would agree with that, absolutely. Also subject to fines for getting in the way like any citizen.

I also have a little problem with this:



Setting up sprinklers? Ordinary people are often prohibited, even arrested, for using sprinklers when it cuts into the water pressure. I see lawsuits aplenty coming.

WTF? When we built our last home sprinklers were required by law. Banning sprinklers in high-risk areas????

orange
09-21-2010, 05:46 PM
WTF? When we built our last home sprinklers were required by law. Banning sprinklers in high-risk areas????

During fire-fighting, people have actually been stopped from using hoses and sprinklers. It's up to the top firefighting officer on the scene.

alnorth
09-21-2010, 05:57 PM
Inevitably some day in the future one of these private squads is going to have to be rescued. How should that be handled?

Setting up sprinklers? Ordinary people are often prohibited, even arrested, for using sprinklers when it cuts into the water pressure. I see lawsuits aplenty coming.

Those silly little concerns are pretty much answered by this:

The agreement spells out that Chubb's firefighters can't use their resources to "perform structure firefighting" and are "not wildfire first responders." They are limited to undertaking "pre-suppression activities," which includes doing fuel mitigation, setting up sprinkler systems and spraying fire-blocking gels on homes.

"We don't do anything without approval from incident command," Chubb's Hilgen said. "We don't move."

The county said it was ok. If something goes wrong, blame the county.

We aren't talking crazy cowboy stuff here, usually this is done several hours or a half day before the fire is expected to get there, no one but the real firefighters are really willing to risk their lives on this. The general population has to evacuate much farther in advance because it is a lot of people who are reluctant to move and move slowly when they do move.

This only sounds revolutionary in Colorado and Chubb is definitely the most aggressive insurance company doing this sort of thing (because they basically insure only very, very, very expensive homes where a loss really hurts them), but this is getting to be somewhat common in California, where home values are high and the state burns all the freaking time. There are at least a half dozen companies, including the one I work for, that is doing this in CA. When a big CA fire starts up they usually figure out what they might have to lose, what they might have a chance at hiring contractors to get in, clear out some garbage in the yard, close windows, spray some gel on the roof, and get out, and if the cost is a lot less than the potential claim savings they ask the firefighters for permission and go for it.

If your home is worth only a few hundred grand or if it is too close to the front line of an uncontrolled CA wildfire then they usually let it burn, but if we had a cluster of 4 or 5 $800,000+ homes in some neighborhood where the fire is about 12 hours away and the firefighters say they will give us a few hours to do what we can, then why the hell not? If those homes burn and we did not try to ever save any of our big homes, in the long run our policyholders will probably have to pay for rate increases to make up for it.

orange
09-21-2010, 06:01 PM
The county said it was ok. If something goes wrong, blame the county.


Oh, so the TAXPAYERS eat it. I guess that makes it alright, then.
Ah, Free Enterprise!

alnorth
09-21-2010, 06:08 PM
Oh, so the TAXPAYERS eat it. I guess that makes it alright, then.
Ah, Free Enterprise!

You are imagining a cost where none exists.

Taco John
09-21-2010, 07:00 PM
Oh, so the TAXPAYERS eat it. I guess that makes it alright, then.
Ah, Free Enterprise!

:LOL:

Leftist apparently get irritated when free enterprise starts infringing on their only solutions to solving everything.

orange
09-21-2010, 07:39 PM
:LOL:

Leftist apparently get irritated when free enterprise starts infringing on their only solutions to solving everything.

...

The company's access to any wildfire zone in Boulder County is part of a memorandum of understanding it hammered out with the county earlier this year. It is the only insurance company to have such an arrangement with the county, Chard said.

Can I - a simple resident - get this "memorandum of understanding," or is it only insurance companies, Mr. Free Enterpriser?

alnorth
09-21-2010, 07:51 PM
...

Can I - a simple resident - get this "memorandum of understanding," or is it only insurance companies, Mr. Free Enterpriser?

If you are the homeowner, you can usually defy an evacuation order. A few people do just that and go to war with garden hoses, only to die or beg for rescue later.

There have even been some cases where the police come one last time and just tell the homeowners flat-out they will not come back no matter what, so if they want to stay, they ask them to show driver's license and take down phone numbers so they know who they are and how to contact their close relatives to ID their body.

orange
09-21-2010, 08:01 PM
http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site21/2010/0909/20100909_064035_Fire002_500.jpg

Boulder Police Officer Scott Adams holds the keys of Boulder resident after she tried to drive past the checkpoint on Thursday, Sept. 9, on Lee Hill Road in Boulder. The officers at the checkpoint were denying entry to residents due to danger from the high winds. The resident was trying to get back to her house to gather some personal belongings. Jeremy Papasso/ Camera (Jeremy Papasso)

alnorth
09-21-2010, 08:07 PM
http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site21/2010/0909/20100909_064035_Fire002_500.jpg

Boulder Police Officer Scott Adams holds the keys of Boulder resident after she tried to drive past the checkpoint on Thursday, Sept. 9, on Lee Hill Road in Boulder. The officers at the checkpoint were denying entry to residents due to danger from the high winds. The resident was trying to get back to her house to gather some personal belongings. Jeremy Papasso/ Camera (Jeremy Papasso)

She evacuated. If you leave they dont have to let you come back, but no one can evict you. If it is firefighting you want to accomplish, there is no need for you to leave and come back.

If you and your family want to go through some sort of training, build a huge water tank, and stockpile your own firefighting gear so you can play amateur firefighter, they usually cant stop you.

orange
09-21-2010, 08:10 PM
She evacuated. If you leave they dont have to let you come back, but no one can evict you. If it is firefighting you want to accomplish, there is no need for you to leave and come back.




But if a wildfire should ignite and come within three miles of the home or prompt an evacuation from the area, Chubb will dispatch trained firefighters in certified wildland engines to the fire zone to protect customers' houses.



They go in AFTER the evacuation order. Just like she tried to do there - but was prevented.

If you and your family want to go through some sort of training, build a huge water tank, and stockpile your own firefighting gear so you can play amateur firefighter, they usually cant stop you.

What if I want to hire someone who's done all that? Right there at the site, not through an insurance company, though.

ClevelandBronco
09-21-2010, 08:27 PM
The state of Colorado takes water rights issues extremely seriously. Water is very valuable private property here. Now, I can understand why the state should be allowed (and expected) to do whatever is necessary with the water available in case of emergency. However, unless private firms are trucking in their own purchased water, I suggest that they should be allowed no access to water at the site in excess of what the property owner's usage rights allow. If they'd like to take down trees that a property owner owns, if they'd like to fight the fire with flame retardants, have at it and be prepared to clean up whatever you've used before it contaminates other owners' properties.

alnorth
09-21-2010, 08:37 PM
What if I want to hire someone who's done all that? Right there at the site, not through an insurance company, though.

What makes you think insurance companies are special? You want to go through the same procedure as them, go ahead. Keep in mind Chubb is not going in there to fight fires at all, they are just clearing brush, spraying gel, and leaving. You can easily do that yourself as a homeowner before you leave.

Beyond that, private firefighting companies not affiliated with insurance companies, (who go beyond prevention and actually function as private hired firefighters) are actually common in CA.

Garcia Bronco
09-21-2010, 09:23 PM
This how the fire brigades acted in the 1850's

orange
09-21-2010, 09:28 PM
What makes you think insurance companies are special?

See post #22 - or the OP

The company's access to any wildfire zone in Boulder County is part of a memorandum of understanding it hammered out with the county earlier this year. It is the only insurance company to have such an arrangement with the county, Chard said.

It's really funny how "free enterprisers" see nothing at all wrong with private companies getting special arrangements.

The county said it was ok. If something goes wrong, blame the county.

... apparently on the County's dime, for that matter ("liability" - I'm sure you've heard the word in your business).

TJ - what would Ayn or John say?

alnorth
09-21-2010, 09:35 PM
orange, your objection to this is just ignorant rage.

Insurance companies are not special. Anyone or any company could go through the same procedure as them to get that "memo of understanding". Private firefighting or fire protection companies have not started up in CO? Why dont you start one?

Or for that matter, buy the firefighting gel and sprayer yourself, for people who can afford those kinds of homes the equipment isn't that damned expensive.

As for the cost to taxpayers, again, what damned cost? You act as if the state has this monumental array of firefighting resources to bring against the fire and they are forced to pull back to allow some crazies to horn in. That they would have been able to do more without them. The reality is that firefighting resources are limited, and they are actually often welcome. If they were not welcome, if they did get in the way more than help, they would tell them to stay out. Even if they are only interested in helping a few specific homes, those are homes the firefighters might not have to use as much effort on later.

alnorth
09-21-2010, 09:38 PM
apparently on the County's dime, for that matter ("liability" - I'm sure you've heard the word in your business).

God, what liability? The fire isn't due for 12 hours, you get two to come in and out, you have the professional training and knowledge to know what little risk you are getting into, and you have your own insurance. To the extent that there is some crazy lightning strikes three times in the same spot fantasy scenario that you could dream up that would actually bring about liability to the county, the expected cost of that liability to the county is far less than the benefit to the county.

orange
09-21-2010, 09:41 PM
As for the cost to taxpayers, again, what damned cost?

As ClevelandBronco first mentioned - what if a Chubb team gets trapped - like firefighters sometimes do, even the best. Who pays? And what about if they die? Who pays?

Also, Property A - not covered - burns down. Property B - covered - does not. Property A owner sues claiming the efforts to save Property B caused Property A to burn. Who pays? Who's the defendant? The taxpayers?

"what damned cost?" - what damned industry did you say you work in again?

orange
09-21-2010, 09:47 PM
and you have your own insurance.

So this:

The county said it was ok. If something goes wrong, blame the county.

... was BS then?

alnorth
09-21-2010, 09:50 PM
As ClevelandBronco first mentioned - what if a Chubb team gets trapped - like firefighters sometimes do, even the best. Who pays? And what about if they die? Who pays?

Also, Property A - not covered - burns down. Property B - covered - does not. Property A owner sues claiming the efforts to save Property B caused Property A to burn. Who pays? Who's the defendant? The taxpayers?

"what damned cost?" - what damned industry did you say you work in again?

In order...

Again, they dont come in unless there is almost no risk. They would not be allowed in otherwise. They will not be "trapped". If you want to dream up some fantasyland scenario where a wildfire that is miles away overtakes them, that danger is vastly outweighed by the free aid they give to the county that they otherwise would not have had. (These houses become more resistant and need less effort to save, allowing the county to focus elsewhere)

Your hypothetical lawsuit is laugh-out-loud stupid. Property A is not entitled to aid from the private company. Property B isn't even given a guarantee that the home is saved, only that they will be gelled if allowed in. Property B could still burn down if the fire is intense enough in that area, and Property B's owners would not have a suit.

orange
09-21-2010, 09:51 PM
God, what liability? The fire isn't due for 12 hours, you get two to come in and out,

Did you even read the OP?

Chubb did manage to get its firefighters, contracted through Red Lodge, Mont.-based Wildfire Defense Systems, to a number of customers' homes in the Fourmile Fire burn zone while the fire was still a threat. Though they didn't have to spray their Thermo-Gel fire retardant on any houses, the firefighters extinguished small fires on the properties, moved flammable furniture away from homes and closed windows that had been left open.

alnorth
09-21-2010, 09:53 PM
... was BS then?

it was a flip answer. I didn't realize you would persist in this "the county would have liability" nonsense.

You act as if this is brand-new. Private firefighting companies have been a reality in CA for a very long time. Those folks assume full responsibility for the risk when they go in. There is no liability to the state or county.

alnorth
09-21-2010, 09:55 PM
Did you even read the OP?

This is understandable, since you probably dont understand how wildfires work. There is the fireline, and then there are the embers that fly miles to ignite small smoldering fires. If you put those out, you reduce the risk of the fire spreading. That doesn't mean those small fires will prevent you from leaving if you cant control them.

orange
09-21-2010, 09:56 PM
Your hypothetical lawsuit is laugh-out-loud stupid. Property A is not entitled to aid from the private company. Property B isn't even given a guarantee that the home is saved, only that they will be gelled if allowed in. Property B could still burn down if the fire is intense enough in that area, and Property B's owners would not have a suit.

No, but Property A is entitled NOT TO BE ENDANGERED by an overzealous private company.

"The Chubb personnel removed brush from Property B and put it on Property A, creating a fire hazard that did not exist."

"The Chubb personnel handled the burning material from Property B in an unsafe manner, allowing the fire to spread."

"The Chubb personnel directed critical water to Property B which prevented the County firefighters from having the pressure necessary to save Property A."

"The Chubb vehicles caused traffic congestion which interfered with the County firefighters from reaching Property A in time."

... and the list goes on.

I see lawsuits aplenty coming.

orange
09-21-2010, 09:58 PM
This is understandable, since you probably dont understand how wildfires work. There is the fireline, and then there are the embers that fly miles to ignite small smoldering fires.

...10-12 hours before the fire proper gets there. That's the timeframe you claimed above.

The fire isn't due for 12 hours, you get two to come in and out

LMAO

alnorth
09-21-2010, 10:02 PM
No, but Property A is entitled NOT TO BE ENDANGERED by an overzealous private company.

"The Chubb personnel removed brush from Property B and put it on Property A, creating a fire hazard that did not exist."

"The Chubb personnel handled the burning material from Property B in an unsafe manner, allowing the fire to spread."

"The Chubb personnel directed critical water to Property B which prevented the County firefighters from having the pressure necessary to save Property A."

"The Chubb vehicles caused traffic congestion which interfered with the County firefighters from reaching Property A in time."

... and the list goes on.

these are some of those wild-assed lightning strikes 3 times in the same spot fantasyland scenarios I referred to earlier. Sure, you could dream up a cartoonish Rube Goldberg machine that could theoretically lead to a lawsuit, but the "liability" would be to the company.

I'll also mention that the article likely overemphasized the "firefighting" aspects in order to sell papers. There usually isn't time to do much clearing, they really do typically check to make sure the attic eaves and windows are closed, spray the roof, and leave. If they just happen to stumble across an ember or see some bit of brush right against the house they might put it out/clear it, but that is not what they are primarily going in for.

alnorth
09-21-2010, 10:04 PM
...10-12 hours before the fire proper gets there. That's the timeframe you claimed above.
LMAO

Just how fast do you think a fire travels?

and before you talk about wind, if high winds are present or forecast, there's no way they go in.

orange
09-21-2010, 10:07 PM
Just how fast do you think a fire travels?

and before you talk about wind, if high winds are present or forecast, there's no way they go in.

Very, very fast, actually.

Which is why I have NO IDEA where you get the idea they were in and out 10-12 hours before the fire reached them.

Company spokesman Dave Hilgen said the fire was so fierce and wind-driven on the first day that nobody was able to get control of it initially.

How could they have been active in the first day at all?

But if a wildfire should ignite and come within three miles of the home or prompt an evacuation from the area, Chubb will dispatch trained firefighters in certified wildland engines to the fire zone to protect customers' houses.

THREE MILES. That's NOT ten hours, no matter how you slice it.


[edit] from another source:

Terri Gillat watched the flames moving through her neighborhood and thought her home would be gone.

But thanks to the fire mitigation she had done and the help of Chubb's Fire Team, her home is still standing.

"They told me the wildfire defense team was at my property and would stay until the fire got it. It was a huge relief. I knew before anybody else that my house was OK," said Gillat. "I think Chubb did a wise thing because they're saying people don't want to lose their stuff and their homes and they don't want to pay the claims, so it's a win-win situation."
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/fourmilecanyonfire/25100363/detail.html

"would stay until the fire got it.."

You have any more misinformation you want to spread?

alnorth
09-21-2010, 10:17 PM
Very, very fast, actually.

Which is why I have NO IDEA where you get the idea they were in and out 10-12 hours before the fire reached them.



How could they have been active in the first day at all?

What does that quote even mean? To me, he is trying to explain why 3 homes burned despite efforts to make the homes more resistant, done long before the fire got there.

You like quoting from the article so much, here's one:

The agreement spells out that Chubb's firefighters can't use their resources to "perform structure firefighting" and are "not wildfire first responders." They are limited to undertaking "pre-suppression activities," which includes doing fuel mitigation, setting up sprinkler systems and spraying fire-blocking gels on homes.

If the fire is close, they don't go in. If it is getting close, they leave. In no case do they interfere with the county, and as a matter of fact, without them, the county's job is harder and more homes are lost. Other homes may benefit from resources that dont have to be used saving a group of homes in the rich neighborhood that never went up because they were made more resistent to embers.

orange
09-21-2010, 10:23 PM
If the fire is close, they don't go in. If it is getting close, they leave.

Read #44.

LMAO

You are completely FOS on this. You want a shovel to dig deaper? Or maybe this...
http://www.wpclipart.com/working/jackhammer.png

They GO IN when the fire gets within 3 miles. And they STAY until the fire gets it.

alnorth
09-21-2010, 10:32 PM
Bottom Line: it is a cost-benefit analysis for the state, and the benefits far outweigh the cost.

The state and county does not, and never will have, anywhere close to all the resources and capability they would like to have to fight a wildfire. They prefer it if homeowners leave and they dont allow people who dont know what they are doing to come in for obvious reasons.

If you have people, regardless of motive, who have all the training necessary, they accept the risk, and they perform only the lowest-risk roles of fireproofing some homes in the area, then the county and state benefits both directly from having fewer homes ignite to spread the fire, and indirectly from being able to divert more resources elsewhere to homes that might have otherwise been allowed to burn.

To the state's point of view, you basically have free volunteer help to fireproof some homes from qualified people who wont get in your way and will communicate and get out when you tell them. (if you want to talk about liability, for crying out loud, CA uses prisoners to help fight fires! You cant tell me they are more trained or introduce less liability than Chubb! Suppose somebody escapes and rapes someone, they never should have allowed felons out of prison! At some point, the benefit simply outweighs the cost)

orange
09-21-2010, 10:37 PM
Bottom Line: it is a cost-benefit analysis for the state, and the benefits far outweigh the cost.


I would have to see the "memorandum." (I've looked for it, mind you, without success*).

As long as (1) they assume ALL the liability/risk and (2) everyone who wants to and has the same certifications can get the same agreement, then I would accept your claim; otherwise, NO WAY. The BENEFITS are to the COMPANY which doesn't have to pay the claims.

Who is John Galt?



* p.s. What the hell is wrong with reporters these days? How do they not hit that one out of the park?

alnorth
09-22-2010, 01:01 AM
few more details. this fire burned 9.7 square miles over 4 days. So, you are talking an outward spread of maybe 1 or 2 miles per day. You wouldn't want to be right up next to it since with the wind it can suddenly start moving before stopping to burn, but being a mile or two away from a wildfire isn't life-threatening if you are qualified, in radio communication, and know what you are doing.

You also have no reason to believe that any other company or group cant get a similar agreement with the county, provided they had equal equipment, training, etc. You just made that blanket assumption.

The reason Chubb is the only insurance company who has bothered to negotiate this agreement with this county in CO is because that particular company is absolutely fanatical about their wildfire protection program as a selling point. CO is not known for frequent devastating wildfires, it just isn't worth the hassle for most companies to jump through those hoops for something they wont need for maybe another 10-20 years, as opposed to a state like california where you have several insurance companies getting involved with private wildfire prevention experts because the state burns every other year.

As for your lawsuit paranoia, you cant stop someone from sueing. I could sue you for emotional distress after reading your posts on a football internet message board. The fact remains, given the very long history of success in CA, you have no reasonable expectation for liability to the state, given that we are talking about a private company, not hired by the county, staffed with certified wildland firefighters who could just as easily work for the US forest service.

edit: for those who would like something similar on their own, this stuff (http://www.storesonline.com/site/529271/page/45031) really isn't expensive. Buy your gel and spray, if you get a knock at the door then clean your gutters, shut your windows and attic eaves, spray your roof, and leave. These Chubb customers aren't getting a whole lot more than that.