The wealthy using private firefighters ignites debate in wildfire country.
"I could care less who owns the house," one firefighter said. "I just want to save as many people as possible."
As wildfires burn from Maine to Michigan, and California slowly recovers from last year's devastating — and costly — wildfire season, a debate has ignited over the use of private firefighting teams deployed by insurance companies used to protect homes belonging largely to the wealthy.
The insurance companies offering this additional service are often for policyholders with properties valued at more than $1 million — and for homeowners with these insurance plans, having this extra protection can be the difference between their home surviving the fire and burning to the ground.
Fred Giuffrida and his wife, Pamela Joyner, were home at their hilly 16-acre Sonoma ranch late last Oct. 8 when, looking out from the family room window, Joyner saw an ominous pink glow in the distance. It was a gusty night in wine country, so she went outside to get a better look. She smelled smoke.
"Twenty minutes later, the whole hill was ablaze," Giuffrida told NBC News.
"There's only one way off the hill, so we said, 'We can't afford to stick around here,'" Giuffrida recalled in a phone interview. After banging on the door to alert a neighbor, they fled their home in the early morning hours of Oct. 9, not knowing what they would find when they returned.
The statement the firefighter made about only wanting to save lives is spot on to what they are trained to do. Homeowner, they need to be more proactive to help them save there homes and it's their responsibility to defend their insurance provider from unsustainable loss during escalating wild fires seasons.
M-Fire's new Wild Fire White Paper report defines the risk and provides the new cost effective solution that will not only defend homeowners, when resilient measures are adopted, the insurance providers can help keep homeowners premiums low. Our white papers will be available very soon on our web site to help homeowners and insurance providers lower risk and loss. If we adopt these new resilient measures we will see new loss numbers in 2019. Until we make communities less vulnerable, the losses will remain unsustainable.