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New FireSmart Home Development Guide helps Canadians build wildfire resiliency

May 4, 2017
8:40am

EDMONTON, AB and GUELPH, ON, May 4, 2017 /CNW/ - FireSmart Canada, in partnership with The Co-operators, has developed a new resource to help residents make their homes more resilient to wildfire. The FireSmart Home Development Guide is now available to all Canadians, and will become part of the FireSmart Home Partners Program.

The FireSmart Home Development Guide outlines specific measures homeowners can take to reduce the risk of damage from wildfire.  Available to help homebuilders and property owners make informed decisions, the Guide provides recommendations on elements that significantly reduces the wildfire risk a home faces: roofing material and design; siding and vents; gutters and eaves; decks; fencing; and landscaping.

"Canadians have seen the devastating personal, social and economic impact of wildfires, the most tragic of which occurred in Fort McMurray last year," said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "Fortunately, we know that proactive mitigation efforts by individual property owners can significantly reduce wildfire risk. By making the FireSmart Home Development Guide available, we are hoping to inspire homeowners to take action to protect what matters most – their loved ones and property."

The Guide will also now be part of the FireSmart Home Partners Program, which is being piloted in four communities: Fort Nelson First Nation, B.C., Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, B.C., Slave Lake, Alta. and Whitecourt, Alta. The Program addresses the need for a standardized system that offers detailed, customized and measureable wildfire risk assessments and measurable risk reductions for individual properties. In the future, it will also include in-person workshops for insurers, realtors and homebuilders.

"Any place where conditions allow for ignition and spread of fire between structures and vegetation – the wildland-urban interface – people are more exposed to the risk of wildfire, and that needs to be considered and managed by all stakeholders, including property owners," said Kelly Johnston, executive director of FireSmart Canada. "Preparing for the threat of wildfire is a shared responsibility that will only grow in importance as climate change and other factors continue to increase the risk. The FireSmart Home Partners Program provides homeowners with the tools and information to reduce the risk of wildfire to their homes."

The Co-operators also partners with FireSmart Canada and other organizations on Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (WCPD), which will be held this year on May 6, 2017.

The FireSmart Home Development Guide is available at firesmartcanada.ca.

About FireSmart Canada
FireSmart Canada is the go-to national program committed to helping Canadians reduce their wildfire risk and become fire adapted through community-based solutions.  FireSmart is administered by Partners in Protection; a non-profit coalition of federal, provincial, indigenous communities, private industry and municipal fire, emergency and land management experts. Through publications, programs, outreach training, and workshops, FireSmart Canada provides tools for Canadians to become pro-active in reducing the risk of wildfire to their homes and communities. FireSmart programs and products are supported through membership and ongoing active support from organizations such as the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the National Fire Protection Association and The Co-operators. For more information on FireSmart visit www.firesmartcanada.ca.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $44 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Kelly Johnston, RPF, Executive Director, FireSmart Canada, 250-319-0494, execdirector@firesmartcanada.ca; Leonard Sharman, Senior Communications Consultant, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937, leonard_sharman@cooperators.ca


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