IBC’s Top 10 Wildfire Safety and Prevention Tips:
With several wildfire warnings and watches in effect across Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is reminding Ontarians to be prepared for some potentially difficult months ahead. Environment Canada is predicting that weather conditions in June through August will create an above-average risk of wildfire in the province.
- Stay informed about the weather. When there is a lot of hot, dry weather in the forecast, be sure to monitor local and provincial information sources for fire bans and warnings.
- Pay attention to fire danger ratings. Take note of and obey fire bans and restrictions to know the likelihood of, and prevent, wildfire igniting in your region. Check your local government’s website for more information.
- Install and regularly maintain smoke alarms in your home. Remove dust, replace batteries when the clocks change in spring and fall, test regularly and replace at least every 10 years.
- Prepare your home. Check that your home’s roof and exterior walls and the undersides of balconies are treated with flame-resistant materials.
- Properly store flammable materials. Store gasoline, solvents or other materials that may ignite, at least 10 metres away from your home.
- Remove dry leaves and debris. Keep leaves, other dry materials and potentially flammable garbage away from the exterior of the house, especially if you have wood or vinyl siding.
- Manage space around your home. Remove combustible material such as shrubs, trees and woodpiles within 10 metres of your home.
- Create an emergency preparedness plan and a disaster safety kit for your family. Develop a fire evacuation plan, practise executing that plan and stick to it in an emergency. Also, prepare a basic kit of food, water and other necessities.
- Prepare and update a home inventory. Make a list of what you own, including the value of each item. Take photos or video of the items and update the list regularly.
- Keep your insurance policy number and insurance company claims department phone number with you. If your home is damaged or you are evacuated, you will be able to contact your insurer more easily to start the claims process. If you are evacuated, you could qualify for additional living expense (ALE) coverage.