EDMONTON, May 6, 2016 /CNW/ - The thoughts and prayers of Canadians are with those affected by the devastating fires in and around Fort McMurray as tomorrow's second annual National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day in Canada approaches. Thirty projects, including one in the area currently affected by the fire, received funding for local mitigation efforts to protect homes and communities from wildfire.
National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is an initiative of Partners in Protection/FireSmart Canada in collaboration with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) and The Co-operators. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually on suppressing wildfires, and changing climates and development trends are making the problem worse.
“The catastrophic wildfire around Fort McMurray reminds us of the need for continued perseverance of Canadian communities in working towards fire resilience by becoming FireSmart. The Partners in Protection Association membership from across Canada stands ready to provide support to the residents of the Fort McMurray area during this difficult time and into the future of recovery and healing,” said Kelly Johnston, executive director of Partners for Protection. “It is encouraging to see an increased number of communities taking ownership of their wildfire risk and taking up the challenge to become FireSmart as the 2016 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day promises to be even bigger than the hugely successful 2015 event.”
"We are very pleased to see that a large number of communities take the threat of wildfire seriously and, thus, recognize the value in organizing a local National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day," says Paul Kovacs, executive director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. "This is a clear testament to the respected position that FireSmart holds as the country's premiere wildfire risk reduction program. We are pleased and proud to have played a role in making such a large number of community events happen."
"The NFPA is strongly committed to supporting efforts such as this in Canada to reduce and hopefully eliminate the catastrophic losses that result annually from wildfire across Canada," said Shayne Mintz, Canadian regional director of the NFPA. "Wildfire Community Preparedness Day events are intended to help bring communities, homeowners and residents of all ages together to get to know one another and raise awareness of the hazards of wildfire and actions they can take to prevent the adverse impacts that wildfire can cause."
"This initiative is a wonderful example of how communities can come together to work collaboratively on projects that are modest in size but potentially huge in terms of the amount of damage they can prevent," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "Wildfire can occur almost anywhere in Canada, and it's encouraging to see projects being undertaken in so many parts of the country."
National Wildlife Community Preparedness Day projects include efforts to clear brush, leaves and grass and other combustible material from around buildings, as well as initiatives that raise awareness and educate Canadians on the risk of wildfire and how it can be reduced. A variety of groups will be participating in local projects on May 7. For a list of them and 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 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 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian 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, [email protected]; Glenn McGillivray, Managing Director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, 416-364 8677, [email protected]; Shayne Mintz, Canadian Regional Director, National Fire Protection Association, 705-812-2924, [email protected]; Leonard Sharman, Senior Communications Consultant, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937, [email protected]