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Canadian homeowners are first line of defence in emergencies
TORONTO, April 29, 2014 /CNW/ - Despite a year of extreme weather Canadians do not feel any more prepared to deal with its potential impacts according to the seventh annual RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study. While the majority of Canadians expect that emergency services, neighbours and charities would provide the most support to affected citizens, they view provincial governments as having the greatest obligation to support citizens affected by extreme weather.
"With extreme weather events on the rise, it is likely that most Canadians will experience moderate to severe weather in their area sometime this year," says Paula Bandi, senior product manager, Home, RBC Insurance. "Canadian homeowners are on the front lines during emergencies and need to prepare. While the government may have resources available to assist as an emergency escalates, individuals need to take the appropriate steps to protect their home and secure the safety of themselves and their families."
Canadians expect the government will only provide limited assistance in response to an emergency, yet they are ill-prepared themselves. Only half (52 per cent) feel prepared to cope with the adverse effects of severe thunderstorms; 38 per cent feel prepared for flooding; and a mere 27 per cent feel prepared for hurricanes, according to the study.
"Learning what actions to take can help Canadians protect themselves, their family and their home in the event of an emergency," explains Bandi. "Far in advance, you can gather emergency supplies, identify and reduce possible hazards in your home and practice what to do in different circumstances."
With Emergency Preparedness Week around the corner, RBC Insurance offers the following tips to help Canadians prepare for extreme weather events:
Protect your home from a storm:
- Inspect the roof annually, checking for missing, curled or damaged shingles; and if there are any, have a professional roofing contractor repair them.
- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed and remove branches or trees that could fall on your home or others.
- Secure or safely store patio furniture and outdoor tools. If a storm is looming, move automobiles into the garage or under a cover.
- Put together an emergency kit of first aid items and supplies; and identify the safest area of home for shelter.
- Install impact-resistant windows and doors. Consider building temporary storm shutters to cover glass surfaces.
Protect your home from water:
- Install a back-flow valve or a backup generator (for sump pumps).
- Maintain your eavestroughs and keep them clear of debris.
- Install downspout disconnections, extensions and splash pads, and always have water flow away from your home.
- Check that all of your windows and doors are secure at least once a year, and re-caulk as needed to help prevent water infiltration.
- Keep outdoor storm sewer grates clear.
About the RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study
The 2014 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study included was an online survey administered by GlobeScan between January 24 and February 12, 2014. It included a sample of 2,074 Canadian adults from GMI's Canadian consumer panel. Weighting was employed to balance demographics, to ensure that the sample's composition reflects the adult population according to Canadian census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Results were weighted by gender, age, region, and community size. The sample included a minimum of 200 respondents in each of Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver, and Winnipeg and 300 in Toronto. The margin of error for a strict probability sample for a sample of this size (n=2,074) would be ± 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.