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Wildfire Community Preparedness Day gearing up one year after Fort McMurray


May 4, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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One year after the Fort McMurray wildfire started and eventually became Canada’s costliest natural disaster, community groups across the country are gearing up to taking part in the third annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (WCPD) to take measures to reduce the risk of wildfire and other hazards.

Families gather in the park for the anniversary of the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

This year’s WCPD will be held on Saturday, The Co-operators said in a press release on Thursday. Partners in Protection Association/FireSmart Canada, in collaboration with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the United States, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) and The Co-operators, provided funding for 20 projects across the country as part of the event. The governments of Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Alberta and the Northwest Territories provided funding for an additional 14 projects.

The national WCPD campaign brings groups together to participate in local mitigation projects that reduce the risk of wildfire damage to their homes and neighbourhoods, The Co-operators explained in February when funding applications were announced. Activities include clearing leaves and other combustible debris from around property, working with neighbours to get a chipper service to remove slash and distributing wildfire safety information.

“It is encouraging to see people across the country getting together to make their homes and communities safer,” Kelly Johnston, executive director of FireSmart Canada, said in the release. “Managing wildfire risk is a shared responsibility. Government policymakers, planners and developers all play important roles, but today the spotlight is on individual property owners and communities. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day projects show that simple things like clearing brush and moving combustible material away from your home can make a real difference in protecting your loved ones and property.”

FireSmart Canada is a national program committed to helping Canadians reduce their wildfire risk and become fire adapted through community-based solutions. It is administered by Partners in Protection Association, a non-profit coalition of federal, provincial, First Nations, private industry and municipal fire, emergency and land management experts. Through publications, programs, outreach training, and workshops, FireSmart provides tools for Canadians to become proactive in reducing the risk of wildfire to their homes and communities.

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $44 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

Established in 1998 by Canada’s property and casualty insurers, ICLR is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Toronto and at Western University in London, Ont. It is a centre of excellence for disaster loss prevention research and education and the institute’s research staff are internationally recognized for pioneering work in a number of fields, including wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric sciences, water resources engineering and economics.

Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, non-profit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy.