To mark National Emergency Preparedness Week, Canada’s Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) announced that it has completed a non-structural retrofit on a Halifax home “to illustrate the simple steps Canadians can take to reduce our vulnerability to natural disasters.”
The bulletin said the home “now meets or exceeds the rigorous ICLR disaster resilience standards.”
“We are asking Canadians to take a more active role in protecting themselves and their communities,” stated Paul Kovacs, ICLR Executive Director. “By getting involved, we can all become better prepared to face severe weather or other hazard. Actions should reflect risk and geography.”
Kovacs noted that because Halifax is prone to hurricanes, the ICLR had taken a number of steps to reduce risks. It installed protective window film to reduce the risk of flying glass, covered the oil tank to prevent ruptures, reinforced the chimney and removed a large tree that lost a main branch during last year’s Hurricane Juan. “There is a lot of science behind these and the other simple steps to be better protected,” he observed.
“Most Canadians live in areas subject to natural hazards,” Kovacs continued. “One of the most common misconceptions among Canadians is that disasters usually take place somewhere else,” he stressed. “In fact, natural disasters are occurring more frequently and with increasing severity, putting every Canadian at some risk. The annual cost of natural disasters to property owners, taxpayers and insurers is doubling every five to ten years. And the place where we are most vulnerable is often the place we consider a safe haven, our home.
“The most expensive natural disasters in Canada’s history – the 1998 ice storm, the Saguenay flood, Manitoba flood, Kelowna wildfire and Hurricane Juan – have occurred within the last six years. We can’t prevent these hazards but there are many simple actions we can all take to be better prepared.”
Information about actions Canadians can take to protect their homes from natural disasters can be found on the ICLR website at www.iclr.org.
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