To start Emergency Preparedness Week on the right foot, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has released a list of tips for homeowners to follow in preparation for future severe weather.
“Climate change is already causing more frequent and severe weather events across Canada,” said IBC vice president of federal affairs Craig Stewart. “Severe hail and wind, flash floods and wildfire can often occur with little warning. This is why it’s so important to be prepared for the worst. IBC is encouraging Canadians to make sure they take necessary measures to protect themselves, their families and their property from the impacts of severe weather.”
The bureau has shared the following tips:
- Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family.
- Secure barbecues and secure or store patio furniture indoors when severe weather is forecast.
- Park your vehicle in a covered area to prevent damage.
- Stay away from windows, doors and skylights during a storm.
- Do not drive through flooded intersections or large puddles.
- Ensure there is proper grading around your home.
- Update your home inventory and have someone check your property if you are away.
- Install a sump pump, sewer backup or backflow valve.
- Consider using resilient building materials when completing repairs.
- Know your risks and review your insurance policy with an experienced insurance representative.
“Insured losses related to natural catastrophic events have averaged $2 billion per year between 2009 and 2020, compared with an average of $422 million per year in the 1983 to 2008 period,” noted Stewart. “Last year alone, these losses were $2.4 billion. That’s more than a four-fold increase in severe weather events, which are increasingly attributed to climate change.”
In a statement, IBC explained that the federal government, in 2020, created the Task Force on High-Risk Residential Flood Insurance and Strategic Relocation. Through the task force, insurers will work with governments across the country to better protect properties from flooding and to ensure that every Canadian has access to affordable flood insurance – however, the task force is a standalone effort.
The bureau believes that the task force needs to be part of a larger climate adaptation plan which coordinates action by both governments and the private sector to address the growing risks of climate change.