New Research Shows Canadians Recognize the Importance of Emergency
Preparedness but are not Sufficiently Prepared
TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - The results of a new survey reveal that while
Canadians overwhelmingly recognize the importance of being prepared for a
potential emergency (such as an extended blackout, ice storm, tornado or
forest fire), a surprisingly large number also realize they are unprepared and
have done nothing to get ready. The survey, conducted by Léger Marketing, was
commissioned by Allstate Insurance Company of Canada to coincide with
Emergency Preparedness Week.
The research reveals that 86 per cent of Canadians feel it is important
to be prepared for potential emergencies and more than half of respondents
believe an emergency will happen in the next 10 years. Despite this, few
Canadians feel they are very prepared for an emergency, with 42 per cent
saying they are not prepared.
"Our research has identified a large gap between Canadians' perceptions
of emergency preparedness and what they are actually doing to prepare," said
Christianne Dostie, Executive Vice President, Allstate Insurance Company of
Canada." Allstate is committed to working in communities and helping Canadians
protect their families and homes before emergencies happen."
Some interesting provincial statistics from the Allstate-sponsored survey
- Residents of Ontario and Atlantic Canada are more worried that an
emergency is likely to happen in the next 10 years than are residents
of Alberta and Quebec.
- Atlantic Canadians are more likely than residents of any other region
to feel that an emergency is very likely to happen and they are also
more likely to say that being prepared is very important.
- Quebecers feel a lower sense of importance than the rest of Canada
when it comes to being prepared for a potential emergency, with
25 per cent saying it is not important.
- While residents of Alberta and Quebec are least likely to have
prepared for an emergency, one-third of Ontarians and one-quarter of
Atlantic Canadians have also done nothing.
Emergency Preparedness Week is a national event that takes place each
year during the first full week of May. This year marks its 13th anniversary
and runs from May 3 to 9 with the theme of "72 Hours...Is Your Family
During this week, many organizations ranging from government, police and
fire services to independent companies and other non-governmental
organizations work together, planning activities to help raise awareness of
the importance of emergency preparedness.
Allstate Canada is the first insurance company to participate in
Emergency Preparedness Week.
To coincide with Emergency Preparedness Week, Allstate has launched a
consumer education program in association with the Institute for Catastrophic
Loss Reduction (ICLR), which seeks to teach Canadians how to properly prepare
Central to this education program is Allstate's interactive online
resource centre, www.bereadytoday.ca which provides consumers with tips on
emergency preparedness and damage prevention. In addition, Allstate's network
of trusted agents will help better prepare Canadians for an emergency by
distributing over 5,000 consumer awareness kits in communities across the
"Emergencies often happen without warning," said Paul Kovacs, Executive
Director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. "This means you may
find yourself evacuated from your home, or without power, transportation and
other essential supplies. Now is truly the best time to prepare yourself and
your family for possible emergencies by putting together a complete emergency
kit and plan."
About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada produces and distributes home and
auto insurance products across Canada. The "Good Hands Network" enables
consumers to contact Allstate through over 90 community Agencies, directly
online at www.allstate.ca and through the Customer Contact Centre at
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
Are Canadians Prepared?
Emergency Preparedness and Water Damage Survey Results
The results of new research sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company of
Canada, reveal that while Canadians overwhelmingly recognize the importance of
being prepared for a potential emergency (such as an extended blackout, ice
storm, tornado or forest fire), a surprisingly large number realize they are
unprepared and have done nothing to get ready.
The 2009 survey, conducted by Léger Marketing, was commissioned by
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada to coincide with Emergency Preparedness
- More than half of Canadians (54 per cent) feel they will experience
an emergency within the next ten years.
- Canadians recognize the importance of preparedness; 86 per cent feel
it is important to be prepared for potential emergencies.
- Only nine per cent of Canadians say they are very prepared for
emergencies; 42 per cent say they are not prepared.
- More than a third of Canadians have done nothing to prepare for an
- Only two-fifths of Canadians say they have an emergency preparedness
- Less than one-in-three Canadians have discussed what to do in an
emergency with their families and just 19 per cent have an emergency
plan in place. Only five per cent have practised their emergency
- More than a quarter of Canadians have not taken any measures to
prevent water damage, the number one cause of damage to their homes.
- Only 35 per cent of Canadians have verified that their insurance
policy covers sewer backup damage.
- Residents of Ontario and Atlantic Canada are more worried that an
emergency is likely to happen in the next ten years (62 per cent and
66 per cent, respectively) than are residents of Alberta and Quebec
(49 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively).
- Residents of Quebec feel the least sense of importance when it comes
to being prepared for a potential emergency, with 25 per cent saying
it is not important.
- Residents of Atlantic Canada are most likely to feel an emergency is
very likely to happen within the next ten years (30 per cent). They
also place more importance on being prepared, with 57 per cent saying
it is very important and another 35 per cent saying it is at least
- While just 12 per cent of Alberta residents felt it very likely that
an emergency would happen, the vast majority still feel it is
important to be prepared (87 per cent).
- One-third of Ontarians (33 per cent) and Atlantic Canadians (37 per
cent) say they are not prepared for an emergency, while half of
Albertans (50 per cent) and Quebecers (51 per cent) feel the same.
- Residents of Atlantic Canada are most likely to have prepared for an
emergency, with just over half (51 per cent) having prepared an
emergency preparedness kit and almost half having discussed emergency
plans with their families (47 per cent).
- Residents of Alberta (47 per cent) and Quebec (42 per cent) are least
likely to have prepared for an emergency.
The Léger Marketing survey covered Canadian adults, aged 18 years and
older, on their opinions of emergency preparedness and the steps they have
taken to prepare for a potential emergency. They surveyed 1680 Canadians
between March 25 and March 29, 2009. The survey is considered accurate to a
margin of error of 2.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Water Damage Prevention
Causes of Water Damage
Water damage in the home can result from a variety of sources which can
- Heavy rain that infiltrates and overwhelms the sewer system;
- Public or private sewer blockage from grease or tree roots;
- Private property drainage issues;
- Burst pipes or leaky appliances;
- Roof leaks.
Water Damage Facts
- Basement water damage is one of the most costly threats to Canadian
- Results of the 2009 Allstate/Léger Marketing survey found that only
32 percent of Canadians realize water damage is the most likely
threat to their home.
- In 2005, sewer backup damages following severe rainfall contributed
to the most costly storm damage in Ontario's history. However, a 2007
survey on sewer backup perceptions and behaviour by the Institute for
Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR), found that most Toronto residents
did not think they were at risk of sustaining sewer backup damages in
- According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, insurance
claims for basement water damage are estimated at $140 million each
year. This represents approximately 40,000 reported cases of basement
water damage averaging $3,000 to $5,000 per incident.
- Frequent occurrences of basement water damage can result in long-term
damage to the building and equipment. Property value may depreciate
because the basement is prone to frequent water damage.
- According to a 2007 ICLR survey, Canadians need to adopt protective
measures which will protect their properties over time and decrease
the chances of sustaining damage during a future event.
Water Damage Reduction
You can avoid water damage by ensuring that your home is fully protected
and scheduling routine maintenance and assistance from a qualified
Allstate and ICLR have identified numerous measures to prevent water
damage to homes:
- Talk to your municipal government about how to reduce basement
flooding in your home and community.
- Hire a professional plumber to:
- Inspect and repair the home's sewer connections and weeping tiles.
- Detach weeping tiles from sanitary sewer connections and properly
redirect weeping tile drainage, based on your municipal government's
- Install a backwater valve in the home's main sanitary sewer
connection. If the right type of valve is installed and maintained
properly, this can help prevent sewer backup from entering your home.
- Inspect the slope of the yard around the home. The yard should be
sloped in a manner that directs water away from the home.
- Disconnecting eavstrough downspouts from underground sewer pipes and
use extensions and splash-pads to direct eavestrough flows six feet
away from the home.
- Replace deteriorating steel, clay or cast iron plumbing pipes found
in some older homes, with PVC, ABS or copper pipes.
The plumber should have all the necessary permits from your municipal
government to carry out any work on your home.
- Install armoured laundry hoses.
- Remove expensive or important items from the basement.
- Store items in the basement in plastic storage containers on raised
- Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves and debris annually.
- Refrain from pouring grease down the drain or flushing objects down
the toilet to help keep your drains free of obstruction.
- Have a roofing contractor check the condition of your roof regularly
and repair as needed. This includes the flashing and seals around
chimneys and skylights.
- Repair cracks in basement walls and floors.
- Ensure insulation and ventilation in the attic is adequate. Any sign
of ice build-up on your roof during the winter months indicates a
problem that could result in water damage.
Talk to your municipal government about these options before you take
action to reduce water damage in your home.
Prevention is not only an insurance concern - taking care of your home
will help maintain its value and possibly increase its resale value.
For further information:
For further information: Media Contact: Karen Nussbaum, Thornley Fallis
Communications, (416) 515-7517, ext. 334, (647) 294-3321,