TORONTO, May 3, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - In preparation for Emergency Preparedness Week (May 2-8, 2010) and to help Canadians prepare for extreme weather-related events, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada has released 10 ways you can protect your family before a severe weather-related emergency hits.
"Canadians may think that weather-related emergencies only happen in other places like Haiti, or more recently Brazil, but that is not the case," says Saskia Matheson, Director of Risk Management for Allstate Canada. "Weather-related emergencies, such as windstorms, wildfires and flooding, can strike anywhere, and Allstate is working in communities to educate Canadians on how to be prepared before an emergency occurs."
Canada ranks second in the world in terms of frequency of tornadoes, with an average of 80 tornadoes each year. Approximately 8,000 wildfires occur each year in Canada, and flooding is the most frequently occurring natural disaster in North America.
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction recommend the following actions to protect your family and home:
1. Understand the risks that extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding or wildfires pose to your home and your community.
2. Create an emergency plan to ensure that all members of your family know what to do during an emergency and practice it. This includes mapping safe exits and knowing the location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain.
3. Prepare an emergency kit with items that will meet your basic needs (i.e. food, water, medicine, light source, first aid kit etc.) for at least 72 hours.
4. If you are in a high-risk area for windstorms, install impact-resistant windows or storm shutters to help prevent your windows from shattering during a storm.
5. If strong winds are forecast, clear the area around your home of garbage and recycling bins, patio furniture, yard debris or other objects that heavy winds could blow around to cause damage.
6. Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home; test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Place a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home as well.
7. Make sure all your family members know what to do if their clothes catch on fire. Practice the Stop, Drop and Roll drill.
8. To prevent flooding in your home, hire a licensed plumber to conduct a detailed plumbing investigation.
9. Keep important documents (such as passports, medical information, birth certificates) safe by storing them in a water-tight plastic container.
10. Review your insurance policy and talk to your insurance agent to make sure you and your home are properly covered.
Emergency Preparedness Week is an annual national event. This year the event will be held May 2-8, 2010 and focuses on helping you and your family prepare to stay safe for the first 72 hours of an emergency. During Emergency Preparedness Week, many organizations ranging from government, police and fire service to independent businesses, and other non-governmental organizations work together to help Canadians prepare for emergencies that could occur in their communities.
"Preparing for severe weather-related emergencies saves lives and this is why Emergency Preparedness Week is vital to Canadians," says Paul Kovacs, Executive Director of Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. "We are educating Canadians to create an emergency preparedness plan and an emergency preparedness kit that will keep their families self-sufficient for up to 72 hours and will help them to stay safe in the event of an emergency."
To learn more about emergency preparedness, Canadians can contact their local Allstate agency or visit goodhandsadvice.ca, where they can find useful tips and download the Emergency Preparedness Podcast Series presented by Allstate Insurance Company of Canada.
About the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR)
The mission of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) is to reduce the loss of life and property damage caused by severe weather and earthquakes. ICLR is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Toronto and London, Ontario, Canada, affiliated with the University of Western Ontario. The Institute is a world-class centre for multi-disciplinary disaster prevention research. It achieves its mission through the identification and support of sustained actions that improve society's capacity to adapt to, anticipate, mitigate, withstand and recover from natural disasters.