Guide for Dealing with Wildfires

Many wildfires in Canada occur in British Columbia, forested areas of Ontario and Quebec, as well as the prairie areas of Yukon and Northwest Territories. While most of these fires occur naturally, some are intentional, and a significant number of them are caused by carelessness. This is why it is critical for you to be prepared if a fire should come near your home.

Preparation

It is always a good idea to develop an emergency plan. Here are some tips on preparing for a wildfire or similar emergency.

  • Please pay attention to your local news. They are the ones who will alert you if there is a fire in your area.
  • Plan and map out escape routes from each room in your home.
  • Take fire bans seriously. Keep flames, like candles, in sturdy stands. If you are camping always make sure the fire is completely out. Also, be careful if you are burning trash on your property.
  • Keep flammable items away from the edges. Remove things like curtains that could burn. Keep leaves and branches away from your house.
  • Practice fire safety techniques.
  • Know and use safe practices when handling fire or fireworks.
  • Make sure you have adequate insurance.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with three days’ worth of basic supplies. A kit should contain first aid supplies, a radio, bottled water, emergency contacts, portable charger, candles, matches, and some cash.
When There Is a Fire

Here are some things to do when local authorities are warning of a fire that is close, or moving in your direction.

  • Continue monitoring local news and obey safety authorities. If there is an evacuation order or alert, be ready to leave the area accordingly.
  • Wet your roof and yard. Use sprinklers to water things down. This could help if the fire is not too strong.
  • While the fire is nearby, keep windows and doors closed to limit exposure to smoke.
  • In the event that there is an evacuation alert, simply grab the emergency kit that you’ve packed and voluntarily evacuate. (Before evacuating, make sure that your car is in good running condition and has enough fuel).
  • Save receipts for expenses while you were gone. These items are often covered under insurance policies. If you have a record of these receipts, you can be easily reimbursed.

Once the fire is out and danger has subsided, authorities will give the all-clear for you to return to your home. Even if you don't see any damage, it is good to still examine it carefully. Here are some things to do.

  • Gather supplies like gloves, sturdy shoes, phone with a camera, first aid kit, trash bags, and bottled water.
  • Check out the perimeter first, before going inside. Look for downed power lines, gas smells, loose debris, and anything else that might present a hazard.
  • If there is damage, enter the house carefully and shut off the main power until you determine it is safe.
  • Take photos of the damage before you clean up.
  • Throw out any food that may be spoiled.
Insurance Coverage

After you return home and have assessed the damage, you will be ready to contact your insurance broker. Note that with an adequate coverage, you can rest assured that your homeowners' insurance policy will protect you.

If you have any questions, be sure to give us a call at 1.844.929.4768 and we’ll help answer them.

Additional Resource:
  • Information by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

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