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Wildfires Are an Ever Present Danger in High Risk States

Atlas Adjusting, Inc pic
Atlas Adjusting, Inc
Image: atlasadjusting.com

An experienced fire loss adjuster, William Welsome serves as director of operations with Atlas Adjusting, Inc., a company that represents businesses and homeowners who deal with insurance firms after experiencing a large insured loss. William Welsome recently helped more than 150 families and businesses with their claims as a result of the butte and lake fires in California. The butte fire killed two people and burned more than 70,000 acres and 900 structures.

A wildfire is an uncontrolled blaze often made more intense by droughts and high winds, and which can burn acres of land in just minutes moving at speeds of up to 14 miles an hour. Every year, more than 100,000 wildfires burn up to 5 million acres in the US. Hot, dry winds often aggravate wildfires in California. Dead trees in the state, estimated at 66 million, are also another factor for California fires.

Firefighters eliminate one of the three factors which make up the so called fire triangle: fuel, oxygen, and heat. A single wildfire may char tens of thousands of acres and involve the efforts of hundreds of firefighters to get it under control. Once a wildfire starts, the damage is hard to predict, with thousands of trees being destroyed, as well as ground cover, houses and other structures. Wildlife and human life are also lost.

Humans cause four out of five wildfires, so it’s natural to conclude that most wildfires could be prevented. People should always remember to be smart where fire is involved in high risk areas, and never leave any kind of fire unattended, or use fireworks in prohibited places, as even a single spark or ember may be carried by a strong wind, starting a wildfire unbeknownst to its originator.

Dogs Trained to Investigate Arson

Atlas Adjusting, Inc. pic
Atlas Adjusting, Inc.
Image: atlasadjusting.com

William Welsome is director of operations at Atlas Adjusting, Inc. As an advocate for those who have experienced a large insured property loss, Atlas Adjusting has achieved settlements for a number of clients who have lost property through fire in the $1 to 3 million range. William Welsome also supports Fire Dogs, an organization which donates an acceleration detection canine, or arson dog, to a local fire department each year.

Arson dogs detect arson-caused fires and have been used. Firemen and policemen use the dogs’ abilities to sniff microscopic quantities of chemicals. This is done to determine if a fire may have been started intentionally.

An arson dog’s sense of smell is so acute that it can detect traces of a flammable substance after fire has consumed nearly all the materials in a blaze – one dog is known to have detected an accelerant on a piece of wood that had been burned in a fire 15 years ago. Arson dogs can detect traces of gasoline, brake fluid, charcoal starter, turpentine, and numerous other chemicals which can be used to deliberately start a fire.

These dogs help investigators detect the presence of accelerants beyond the ability of machines engineered to detect the presence of chemicals, which cannot match a dog’s level of sensitivity. Only dogs with a special gift for identifying such chemicals are selected for this purpose. Arson dogs are not commonly found among fire departments or police forces, and so they are frequently loaned by their keepers to other agencies. The dogs also make appearances in court when it is necessary to present evidence of arson and to demonstrate the dog’s ability.

Fire Dogs: Teams Detecting Arson

 

Atlas Adjusting, Inc. pic
Atlas Adjusting, Inc.
Image: atlasadjusting.com

William Welsome has been a financial and insurance professional for over 17 years. Director of Operations at Atlas Adjusting, Inc., Welsome is an advocate for the insured during the claims process. William Welsome has donated his time and money to Fire Dogs, a charitable organization dedicated to bringing service dogs to aid local fire departments in solving fire-related crimes.

Arson dogs, along with their handlers, are trained extensively for certification in fire scene investigation. These hard-working animals live with their handlers as part of the family, and are brought to the scene to sniff out traces of accelerants such as gas, lighter fluid, or explosives left behind when a fire is set intentionally. Labrador retrievers are often used for this work, as their sensitive snouts can detect scents in parts per quintillion; paired with their gentle and sweet temper, they are ideal fire dogs. Since 1993, when the program was initiated by State Farm Insurance, hundreds of arson dog teams have been deployed throughout North America.

First Party Claims Conference to Take Place October 2016

First Party Claims Conference pic
First Party Claims Conference
Image: firstpartyclaims.com

A public insurance adjuster with nearly a decade of experience in the investment and insurance sector, William Welsome serves as the director of operations at Atlas Adjusting.

The First Party Claims Conference (FPCC) provides continuing education for attorneys, public adjusters, and other professionals in the first party property insurance claims community. It offers the opportunity to learn from leading members of the industry and invites attendees to network with peers and exchange information about the latest available industry products and services. Furthermore, attendees may earn up to 15 continuing legal education (CLE) or continuing education (CE) credits.

FPCC will take place on October 17 through October 19, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick, Rhode Island. Attendees may select from three registration types: full conference, two-day, and a pre-conference education session. Registration includes all meals, breaks, and receptions and attendees must attend all sessions in order to receive CE or CLE credit. In addition, early registration rates will apply until August 19, 2016.

For more information on the FPCC, visit firstpartyclaims.com.