Canadians Not Prepared For The Emergency They Believe Is Imminent



    
    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
include:

    
    -   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
Prepared?"
    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
for emergencies.
    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
country.
    "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
1-800-allstate.

    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.

    
                                                                BACKGROUNDER
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           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
Week.

    
    Key Findings

    -   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
        emergency.
    -   Only two-fifths of Canadians say they have an emergency preparedness
        kit.
    -   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
        plan.
    -   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.

    Regional Highlights

    -   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
        somewhat important.
    -   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.
    

    Methodology

    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
include:

    -   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
        homes.
    -   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
        the future.
    -   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
professional.
    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
        recommendations.
    -   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
        shelving.
    -   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,
nussbaum@thornleyfallis.com


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