January 25, 2016 by Canadian Underwriter
Building upon the success of the inaugural event in 2015, the second National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day in Canada will be held on May 7, 2016.
The announcement was made on Monday by Partners in Protection/FireSmart Canada, in collaboration with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Prevention (ICLR) and The Co-operators, the latter of which offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products, through its group of companies.
During Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, communities across Canada are encouraged to participate in local mitigation projects to help reduce the risk of wildfire damage to their homes and neighbourhoods, The Co-operators explained in a statement. As well, starting on Monday, groups and individuals are encouraged to apply for funding to support local events to be held on May 7.
Up to 30 projects will be sponsored. Project ideas could include things such as clearing leaves, pine needles and combustible debris from the roofs and gutters of neighbourhood homes, developing a phone/text tree that can be used for fire evacuation alerts or working with local emergency management authorities to develop and practice a neighbourhood evacuation plan.
“As we experienced in 2015, a changing climate, increasing large fire activity and increasing development trends create a serious threat throughout Canada – putting neighbourhoods, communities, the public, and firefighter safety at risk every year,” said Kelly Johnston, executive director of Partners in Protection, in the statement. “Unless Canadian communities take action, this problem will only become worse.” FireSmart is administered by Partners in Protection: a non-profit coalition of federal, provincial, first nations’, private industry and municipal fire, emergency and land management experts.
Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators, added that “wildfire is a growing risk in communities across the country, and proactive mitigation measures are increasingly important.”
According to Shayne Mintz, Canadian regional director of the NFPA, each year in Canada, millions of dollars of damage is caused by wildfire. This program, Mintz added, was created to “help raise wildfire awareness, promote collaboration and bring neighbours together to work on projects that can help protect homes, neighbourhoods and entire communities from future wildfire risk or current post-fire impacts.” The NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards.
Paul Kovacs, executive director of the ICLR, the centre of excellence for disaster loss prevention research and education, noted that “many of the steps that homeowners can take to protect their homes and neighbourhoods from wildfire require nothing more than a small amount of funding, access to the right information and a little bit of elbow grease.”
A list of contests rules and project ideas for National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day can be found at www.firesmartcanada.ca.