ICLR unveils Canada’s first disaster-resistant home

Part of Emergency Preparedness Week education campaign

Thursday May 9, 2003, LONDON, ONTARIO – One of the most common misconceptions among Canadians is that disasters usually take place somewhere else. In fact, natural disasters are occurring more frequently and with increasing severity, putting every Canadian at some risk. The annual cost of natural disasters to taxpayers and insurers is doubling every five to ten years. And the place in which we are most vulnerable is often the place we consider a safe haven – home.

To mark National Emergency Preparedness Week, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) has completed a non-structural retrofit on a London home to illustrate some of the simple steps we can take to make ourselves less vulnerable to natural disasters. This home now meets or exceeds the new and rigorous ICLR disaster prevention standards.

“We are asking Canadians to take a more active role in protecting themselves and their communities,” said Paul Kovacs, Executive Director of ICLR. “By getting involved, we can all become better prepared to face severe weather or other natural disasters.”

Actions should reflect risk and geography. Because London is in a tornado alley, ICLR installed in the showcase home a steel front door, a reinforced garage door and protective window film designed to reduce the risk of flying glass. “There is a lot of science behind these and the other simple steps to be better protected,” added Mr. Kovacs.

“The majority of Canadians do live in areas subject to natural disasters,” Mr. Kovacs said. “The three most expensive natural disasters in Canada’s history – the 1998 ice storm in Eastern Ontario and Quebec, and the Saguenay and Manitoba floods – occurred within the last six years. While we can’t prevent these disasters, there are many simple actions we can all take to be better prepared.”

Other non-structural retrofit examples, specific to natural disasters can be found on the ICLR website at www.iclr.org.

Canada’s home, car and business insurers founded the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction in 1998. ICLR is a coordinated effort to reduce disaster losses involving member insurance companies, the University of Western Ontario and other partners. The Institute earns contract revenue for specific projects and workshop fees. Ongoing funding is provided by member insurers and the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund.