Tour a winter storm and earthquake resilient home: Canada's insurers contribute to Emergency Preparedness Week



    TORONTO, May 7 /CNW/ - The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
(ICLR) invites members of the media to tour a winter storm and earthquake
resilient home. As part of the insurance industry's ongoing commitment to
educate Canadian homeowners about disaster safety, ICLR has once again chosen
Emergency Preparedness Week (May 4-11) to unveil its latest home retrofit
project, this time in Montreal, Quebec. The event marks the 10th anniversary
year of the Great Ice Storm of January 1998.

    
    Where:       68 Kingsley, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec
    When:        Friday, May 9 at 10 a.m. - 12 noon
    

    Paul Kovacs, Executive Director of ICLR, will conduct a media tour of the
home. Says Kovacs: "Actions taken to make a home more resilient to natural
catastrophes should reflect local hazard risk. All of Quebec represents an
active zone for winter storm, and the Montreal corridor contains an active
seismic zone. Homeowners living in these areas, and in other places in Canada
that are subject to different extremes, can prepare now for hazards that will
inevitably strike in the future."

    
    The Montreal home retrofit includes:
    -   Installing a diesel generator as an alternative power source
    -   Putting in surge protection on bigger-ticket electronic items
    -   Fitting the meter with a natural gas seismic shut off valve
    -   Anchoring cabinets, office equipment, and bedroom furniture to walls
    -   Outfitting the washing machine with armoured water supply hoses
    -   Anchoring the hot water heater to the floor
    -   Securing pictures and mirrors to the walls
    -   Applying 3M Scotchshield safety UV film to windows
    -   Installing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and providing a fire
        extinguisher
    -   Installing snow melt cables on roof edges and gutters to prevent the
        formation of ice dams
    -   Providing a disaster preparedness kit.
    

    From late Sunday, January 4 to Saturday, January 10, 1998, freezing rain
lashed eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec before heading into Canada's
Atlantic provinces. In Quebec, 100 millimeters of freezing rain ravaged
Montreal and parts of the province's south shore. By January 18, 25 Canadians
were dead.
    Emergency crews worked around the clock responding to reports of trees
pulling down hydro poles and ice toppling transmission pylons. In Quebec, 
1.4 million customers lost electrical power - translating into roughly three
million people or half the province's population. At the storm's height
January 9, more than 10 per cent of Canadians were without electricity.
    On Friday November 25, 1988, the largest earthquake in eastern 
North America in 53 years occurred just south of Chicoutimi, Québec. Referred
to as the Saguenay earthquake, the temblor registered 5.9 on the Richter
scale. Though there was no loss of life as a result of the event, some
property damage was reported, particularly to older unreinforced masonry
structures. In Montreal East, the former City Hall suffered serious damage to
the masonry cladding.
    According to Kovacs: "We can prevent natural hazards from becoming
disasters if people undertake simple, appropriate preventative measures
beforehand. Such actions and measures are affordable and take little time to
do. We showcase them today in this home."
    This is the sixth year that ICLR has retrofitted an existing home as part
of Emergency Preparedness Week. In 2007, a home in Edmonton was retrofitted to
protect against tornado and winter storms. In 2006, a home in Ottawa was made
more resilient to earthquakes and winter storms. In 2005, a home in Vancouver
was made more resilient to earthquakes, and in 2004, a Halifax home was
protected against hurricanes. In 2003, a home in London was made more
resilient to tornadoes. The Institute has also retrofitted several child care
centres as part of its "Protecting our Kids from Disasters" program.

    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.





For further information:

For further information: Glenn McGillivray, Managing Director, ICLR,
tel. (416) 364-8677, ext. 3216, cell (416) 277-5827, fax (416) 364-5889,
gmcgillivray@iclr.org

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