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Fort McMurray Alberta Wildfires Highlight the Importance of Planning and Preparedness

When you live in a region that regularly experiences natural disasters, you must plan ahead. And those in Alberta—which sees approximately 1,500 wildfires each year[1]—must prepare for the possibility that their homes and livelihoods may be threatened.

Alberta wildfires are unpredictable and can destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure and natural resources. When all is said and done, the 2016 spring Alberta fires may prove to be the costliest disaster in Canadian history. The nearly 90,000 evacuated residents may be without homes, jobs and other resources to rebuild.

If you’re at risk, it is important to know how to prepare your family to evacuate quickly.  Remember these best practices to create an evacuation plan to ensure your safety in the event of an Alberta wildfire:

  • Call 911. If you see a wildfire and haven’t received evacuation orders yet, call 911. Don’t assume someone else has already notified the authorities.
  • Stay connected. Be aware of text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. Always keep yourself up-to-date with the most current developments.
  • Know where to go. Identify possible routes for evacuation and friends or family living elsewhere who can help you. Make sure you include options so you have an alternative if one is not available.
  • Catalog your assets. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy and plan ahead by keeping an updated list or video of your personal property.
  • Prepare your home.  Follow best practices for electricity and other utility shut off processes, refrigeration, securing your property.
  • Pack your valuables. If time and circumstances allow, pack important items to take with you. These might include essential documents including personal identification and insurance papers; cash, medications, toiletries, protective clothing and footwear, a 72-hour supply of water and food.

The vast majority of people living in areas prone to wildfires know they face risk, but they tend to underestimate the risk. There are a variety of hazards associated with wildfires. To learn more about how to prepare for a natural disaster learn more at HUB’s Crisis Management Center.

Contact a HUB Risk Manager today to learn about best practices for preparing and responding to Alberta wildfires.