The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) today launched a new augmented reality mobile device application experience called Wildfire Ready Virtual to bring homeowners inside the risk of wildfire and demonstrate the value of wildfire mitigation actions. The free app for Apple and Android devices, launched as part of May’s Wildfire Awareness Month, brings to life the critical actions needed to create a wildfire-resistant home recently called for in the Institute’s Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps and consumer-facing Wildfire Ready guide.
Rooted in the pioneering wildfire science of IBHS, Wildfire Ready Virtual enables homeowners to see the impact of basic, do-it-yourself wildfire mitigation actions when embers shower suburban neighborhoods. The app begins with a short survey to help users understand their home’s vulnerability before bringing the user into the augmented reality experience to demonstrate the importance of the 0-5-foot home ignition zone, the roof, decks, fences, and vents in reducing wildfire risks.
“While driving down the wildfire risk plaguing western communities will require collective action from individual homeowners, entire neighborhoods, and community leaders, homeowners should know simple tasks can make a substantial difference. Wildfire Ready Virtual turns top-tier science into an engaging and fun educational tool,” says IBHS President and CEO Roy Wright.
IBHS launched the Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps and Wildfire Ready guide last summer establishing the starting line and outlining the critical actions every homeowner needs to prioritize on the road to wildfire resilience. The Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps detail wildfire vulnerabilities unique to the suburban landscape where wildfires are too frequently becoming catastrophic.
“Up to 90 percent of homes in a wildfire are ignited by embers and Wildfire Ready Virtual demonstrates that risk,” explains Daniel Gorham, IBHS research engineer and a firefighter. “A home is a system. One element may be wildfire-resistant while another remains vulnerable. While we can’t eliminate wildfire risk entirely, these critical actions that can be mitigated in a weekend appreciably bring down the risk.”
Wildfire Ready Virtual is now available in both the App Store and Google Play store for free download. After exploring the virtual mitigation actions, users can share the app via social media or visit the full Wildfire Ready guide for additional mitigation recommendations.
“We need everyone on the path to wildfire resilience to drive down the risk, and Wildfire Ready Virtual will help homeowners understand the specific actions to take to reduce their vulnerability to embers,” adds Wright.
The Suburban Wildfire Adaptation Roadmaps marked the first comprehensive look at wildfire vulnerabilities in the closely-built suburban neighborhoods where traditional wildland-urban interface guidance did not address the real-world complexities of these communities. The Roadmaps informed the subsequent Wildfire Ready guide, which includes four clusters of actions for homeowners and is available at disastersafey.org/wildfireready.