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Public Safety Canada Survey | Canadians are unprepared for flood risk



(Montreal) Only 4% of Quebecers have taken steps to protect their homes from climate risks like flooding, compared to 11% of Canadians, according to a survey commissioned by the federal government.

With the approach of spring thaw and the risk of flooding, Public Safety Canada is launching a campaign to make Canadians aware of weather disasters and for the occasion, the department has asked the firm Ipsos to conduct an online survey of Canadians. aged 25 to 55.

Flood prevention

The department responsible for keeping Canada safe advises citizens to use water-resistant building materials for below-grade renovations, to caulk around basement windows and the bottom of ground floor or to mount large household appliances such as water heaters and electrical panels on blocks of wood or cement, among other measures to protect against possible spring flooding.

Public Safety Canada also recommends ensuring that the plumbing and pipes comply with the requirements.

Only 4% of Quebecers have taken similar measures, and Public Health Canada reminds us that spring is the peak flood season. These can be caused by severe storms or by ice jams that form when an accumulation of ice blocks the waters upstream.

In the spring of 2017 and 2019, Quebec was hard hit by floods that required thousands of evacuations and caused significant material and human losses.

“What we recommend is that people contact their municipality and their province because they can provide information specific to their region and for their community,” said Nicholas Defalco, spokesperson for Public Safety. Canada.

However, a recent report commissioned by the same ministry to the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) indicates that Canadian governments, municipalities and provinces often rely on outdated data such as outdated flood maps.

“What I can answer is that Natural Resources Canada is updating the maps,” Nicholas Defalco told The Canadian Press, adding that citizens can consult the site, in the prevention and flooding section, “for tips and tricks to be well prepared”.

In Quebec, citizens can also consult the Géo-Inondations site to find out if their house is located in a flood zone, taking into consideration that some maps are not up to date.

Most Canadians are unaware of the risks

The Ipsos poll “revealed a weakness in understanding the disastrous consequences of weather emergencies in Canada.”

For example, 76% of Canadians are either unaware of or unconcerned about the risks to their community.

“Since the vast majority of Canadians are unaware of or unconcerned about the risks specific to their community, we need to find a way to raise awareness and encourage action on this important issue. As we continue to see in other parts of the world, the repercussions of being unprepared are far too high,” Public Safety Canada said in a statement.

For example, points out Nicholas Defalco, “flooding a basement costs on average $40,000, so a small flood can cause damage, big damage. Also, people are encouraged to contact their insurance to make sure they are covered. »

A third of Canadians have an emergency plan

Three in ten (29%) Canadians aged 25 to 55 say they have an emergency plan for natural disasters.

“You have to be ready to stay home, for a few days or maybe even a few weeks, that’s the first step” of an emergency plan, says Nicholas Defalco, “just in case you are not able to leave home”.

The Public Safety Canada spokesperson adds that the second step in an emergency plan is to think about the different ways to leave your neighborhood in the event of a disaster that requires an evacuation.

The poll, of a representative sample of 2,022 Canadians, also indicates that nearly half of Canadians, or 45%, “say the pandemic has not influenced how they prepare for future disasters.”

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