Prepare Before Extreme Weather Hits

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September 18, 2003 -Toronto — As the Hurricane Isabel continues on its approach toward southern Ontario, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction is reminding people to prepare themselves, their homes and their property for severe weather.

“The time to prepare is long before the storm hits,” says Paul Kovacs, Executive Director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. “However, even now, people can ensure that lawn furniture is safely put away and that any dead or damaged tree branches that may pose a threat are removed. And when the storm does arrive, remember to stay away from windows that may shatter if an object strikes.”

“When this kind of storm hits central Canada, the major threat is not wind but rain, and lots of it is expected over the next couple of days,” says Kovacs. “People should prepare for the possibility of flooding in low-lying areas and in basement where there is a history of water seepage. If possible, valuable property that’s stored in a basement should be relocated,” he adds. “For more information on preparing yourself and your property from severe weather, please visit iclr.org. You will learn what you should include in a disaster safety kit and other helpful hints.”

Hurricane Isabel appears to be eerily similar to Hurricane Hazel, which struck the Greater Toronto Area 49 years ago next month. While it is not yet clear what the impact of the storm may be, the region is much better prepared to deal with the effects of extreme weather than it was when Hazel hit in 1954.

“As a society, we learned a lot from Hazel and took the necessary steps to move homes and businesses out of harm’s way,” says Kovacs. “These investments in infrastructure have lessened the impact of severe weather on our society over the years.”

Established by Canada’s property and casualty insurers in 1998, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction is a research organization dedicated to reducing disaster losses through public policy development and increasing public awareness of disaster management.

ICLR website 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.