IBC urges Alberta residents to learn how to FireSmart their homes with
educational video posted on YouTube

EDMONTON, May 20 /CNW/ - With extremely dry conditions in Alberta and many wildfires already raging in the province, it appears that there will be an above-average number of wildfires this season. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) encourages all Albertans to take immediate steps to protect their properties by reducing wildfire hazards.

"We're already dealing with a large fire in Opal, north of Edmonton, which is reflective of the extremely dry conditions," said Jeff Haley, Director, Alberta Government Affairs, IBC. "We want to help minimize the number of people who need to be evacuated from their homes as a result of wildfires, and prevent unnecessary and costly damage to homes and businesses."

"To give homeowners the knowledge they need to FireSmart their homes, IBC has produced an informative video that can be viewed on YouTube," said Haley.

The video is available at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VZWwC0PhUk.

FireSmart is a national program endorsed by governments across Canada, the insurance industry and many other groups. It outlines a number of steps homeowners can take to protect their homes from wildfire, including the following:

    -   Replace cedar roof shingles with non-flammable materials such as
    -   Replace cedar siding with stucco.
    -   Replace highly flammable coniferous bushes with deciduous plants.
    -   Reduce surrounding ladder fuels (such as small trees that can carry
        fire from the ground to the lower branches of larger trees) and
        forest litter/fuels (such as fallen leaves and twigs).
    -   Reduce forest litter/fuels behind property.
    -   Move wood piles away from buildings.

"IBC recommends and supports programs like FireSmart because they are a step in the right direction to help communities be better prepared for disasters," noted Haley. "We urge everyone to watch the video and FireSmart their properties now. If you wait until the fire is outside your door, it's too late to do something about it."

Many printed resources about fire prevention, including the FireSmart manual, are available on IBC's website at http://www.ibc.ca/en/BeSmartBeSafe/Publications/fire.asp.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: For further information: Ellen Woodger at (416) 483-2358 or Pete Karageorgos at (416) 362-2031

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