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Communities across Canada participate in national effort to build wildfire resilience

May 1, 2018
8:00am

Coalition of non-profits, provincial governments and The Co-operators support Canada-wide action to make communities 'FireSmart'

GUELPH, ON and EDMONTON, May 1, 2018 /CNW/ - Starting on May 5th, municipalities from coast to coast to coast will join a national effort to reduce wildfire risk to local homes and environments in anticipation of this year's wildfire season.

A total of $47,000 was awarded to 94 successful community applicants across Canada for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. This annual, national program was launched by FireSmart Canada in collaboration with The Co-operators, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and has since gained support from the Provinces/Territories of British ColumbiaAlbertaSaskatchewanManitobaOntarioNewfoundland, and the Northwest Territories.

Communities can use their award from May through September to host Wildfire Community Preparedness Day events that will raise awareness, help protect homes, and encourage neighbourhoods to build wildfire resiliency. Through these events, communities will be encouraged to adopt "FireSmart" activities including proper maintenance and clearing of dead or combustible vegetation, wildfire-resilient landscaping, and using fire-resistant roofing materials. 

"Wildfire seasons are lasting longer and are more intense. It is critical that communities can live with and manage the realities of wildfires on our landscapes," says Kelly Johnston, Executive Director of FireSmart Canada. "This is a shared responsibility, and through these community-led events, we can raise awareness and protect people and property by decreasing wildfire risk, particularly in wildland-urban interfaces where the built environment interacts with surrounding vegetation."

The Co-operators provided $15,000 in funding to support communities in their efforts. Since 2014, 
The Co-operators has partnered with the NFPA and FireSmart Canada to drive wildfire resiliency efforts and advocacy to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of wildfires across Canada.

"As wildfire risk continues to increase across the country, Canadians and our communities are increasingly bearing the financial, social and emotional consequences of these events," says Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "To provide long-term solutions that protect what matters most, we need a co-ordinated adaptation effort that includes governments, insurers and all Canadians to design and maintain resilient communities." 

For a list of all successful Canadian community applicants, and for more information on Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, visit:  http://www.firesmartcanada.ca/firesmart-communities/congratulations-to-our-successful-wildfire-community-preparedness-day-2018-award-recipients/

About The Co-operators

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $41 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 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.

About Fire Smart 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 NFPA

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global non-profit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. NFPA delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering our mission. Our mission is to help save lives and reduce loss with information, knowledge and passion. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is based on or adapted from materials provided and owned by the National Fire Protection Association, a Massachusetts, USA not-for-profit corporation, all rights reserved.

About ICLR

ICLR's mission is to reduce the loss of life and property caused by severe weather and earthquakes through the identification and support of sustained actions that improve society's capacity to adapt to, anticipate, mitigate, withstand and recover from natural disasters. ICLR is achieving its mission through the development and implementation of its programs Open for business, to increase the disaster resilience of small businesses, Designed for safer living, to increase the disaster resilience of homes, and RSVP cities, to increase the disaster resilience of communities.

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, media@cooperators.ca, 519-767-3937


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