Second National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day in Canada Launched

Applications for funding open today

EDMONTON, Jan. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Building upon the success of the inaugural event in 2015, the second National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day in Canada will be held on May 7, 2016. The announcement was made today by Partners in Protection/FireSmart Canada, in collaboration with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Prevention (ICLR) and The Co-operators.

During Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, communities across Canada are encouraged to participate in local mitigation projects to help reduce the risk of wildfire damage to their homes and neighbourhoods. Starting today, groups and individuals are encouraged to apply for funding to support local events to be held on May 7. Up to 30 projects will be sponsored. For a list of contests rules and project ideas, visit firesmartcanada.ca.

"Wildfires have always been a natural process in Canada's forests. However, as we experienced in 2015, a changing climate, increasing large fire activity and increasing development trends create a serious threat throughout Canada – putting neighbourhoods, communities, the public, and firefighter safety at risk every year," explained Kelly Johnston, Executive Director of Partners in Protection. "Unless Canadian communities take action, this problem will only become worse. The 2015 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day was a huge success in empowering community members to develop their own local solutions to reduce wildfire risk. Let's build on this success for 2016."

"Wildfire is a growing risk in communities across the country, and proactive mitigation measures are increasingly important," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "We are pleased to be part of this initiative, which will raise awareness and mobilize people across Canada who are ready to pitch in and make their communities safer for everyone."

"The NFPA is very proud to be participating with our partners in FireSmart's second annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day," said Shayne Mintz, Canadian Regional Director of the NFPA. "Each year in Canada, millions of dollars of damage is caused by wildfire and this program is created to help raise wildfire awareness, promote collaboration and bring neighbours together to work on projects that can help protect homes, neighbourhoods and entire communities from future wildfire risk or current post-fire impacts." 

"Many of the steps that homeowners can take to protect their homes and neighbourhoods from wildfire require nothing more than a small amount of funding, access to the right information and a little bit of elbow grease," said Paul Kovacs, Executive Director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. "The National Wildlife Community Preparedness Day can provide homeowners and neighbourhood groups with access to both funding and the right information needed to reduce the chances that a wildfire will negatively impact a given area. We are proud to help make this day happen."

National Wildlife Community Preparedness Day projects may include clearing leaves and other combustible debris from around homes and other structures, working with neighbours to get a chipper service to remove slash, and distributing wildfire safety information. Groups of all sorts and individuals of all ages are encouraged to participate.

To learn more about National Wildlife Community Preparedness Day in Canada, please visit www.firesmartcanada.ca.

About FireSmart Canada
FireSmart Canada (FireSmart) is the go-to national program committed to helping Canadians reduce their wildfire risk and become fire adapted through community-based solutions. FireSmart is administered by Partners in Protection; a non-profit coalition of federal, provincial, first nations', private industry and municipal fire, emergency and land management experts. Through publications, programs, outreach training, and workshops, FireSmart provides tools for Canadians to become pro-active in reducing the risk of wildfire to their homes and communities. FireSmart programs and products are supported through membership and ongoing active support from organizations such as the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the National Fire Protection Association and The Co-operators. For more information on FireSmart visit www.firesmartcanada.ca.

About the National Fire Protection Association:
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org

About the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction:
Established in 1998 by Canada's property and casualty insurers, ICLR is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Toronto and at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. ICLR is a centre of excellence for disaster loss prevention research and education. ICLR's research staff is internationally recognized for pioneering work in a number of fields including wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric sciences, water resources engineering and economics. Multi-disciplined research is a foundation for ICLR's work to build communities more resilient to disasters. Visit www.iclr.org.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Kelly Johnston, RPF, Executive Director, Partners in Protection Association, 250-319-0494, execdirector@firesmartcanada.ca; Glenn McGillivray, Managing Director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, 416-364-8677, gmcgillivray@iclr.org; Shayne Mintz, Canadian Regional Director, National Fire Protection Association, 705-812-2924, smintz@nfpa.org; Leonard Sharman, Senior Advisor, Media Relations, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937, leonard_sharman@cooperators.ca


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