Albertans Urged to be More Vigilant about Storms

Monday, July 7, 2014

rain on umbrellaAlberta has experienced some of the country’s worst summer storms in recent years. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, hailstorms caused $530 million in damage in 2012, and 62 per cent of the country's insurable losses from natural disasters occurred in Alberta during that year. Before that, it was the wind-driven Slave Lake Wildfire in 2011, the record-setting Calgary hailstorm in 2010, the destructive floods in 2005, the Pine Lake Tornado in 2000, and so forth. The infamous 2013 floods will live in the residents' memories forever as the costliest of Alberta’s long list of disasters 

It is shocking how quickly people can move on and return to that comforting belief that something really terrible cannot happen to them, but the belief that we are immune from further disasters is precisely what places us at greater risk. Albertans must learn to take some crucial steps to keep their families and possessions as safe as possible during the summer months. 

  • We must take the possibility of flooding seriously and refrain from building on river banks. The province will no longer compensate new owners of homes in high-risk areas if disaster strikes. The government has served fair warning, the rest is up to us.

  • We must keep our homes properly maintained to withstand the summer storms. Any weakness in the roof, doors, windows, walls or foundation leaves it vulnerable to storm damage. Most families do not hesitate to buy several new smart phones and tablets a year, but we treat necessary home maintenance like an optional expense that we cannot afford. Our homes are our most valuable possessions, and we cannot rely solely on insurance to protect them. Most home insurance does not cover flood damage (or sewer back-up due to overland flood, for that matter), and it usually only covers possessions for the the original purchase price. 

  • We must pay attention to weather reports and take all possible precautions when rain, hail or wind is expected. 

  • We should keep our eyes open for opportunities to minimize damage. For example, we can remove obstacles from around sewer drains in our streets; offer to cut down precarious branches in our neighbours' gardens, and so on.

Vigilance will not prevent all damage, but it can go a long way toward minimizing it.

View more articles like this.