WhereCanada ImpactPreparedness DateJul 2015

In light of the recent Wildfires in Western Canada, did you know…?

  • Wildfires are a natural hazard in any forested and grassland region in Canada.
  • The regions with the highest wildfire occurrence are British Columbia, and the Boreal forest zones of Ontario, Quebec and the Prairies.
  • Approximately 8,000 wildfires occur in Canada each year.
  • Fires caused by lightning represent 45% of all fires, but because they occur in remote locations and often in clusters, they represent 81% of total area burned.

How to prepare for a Wildfire

  • Prepare an emergency kit: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/kts/index-en.aspx
  • Check for, and remove, fire hazards in and around your home, such as dried out branches, leaves and debris. Keep a sprinkler in an accessible location.
  • Learn fire safety techniques, teach them to members of your family and have fire drills regularly.
  • Maintain first-aid supplies to treat the injured until help arrives.
  • Have an escape plan so that all members of the family can get out of the house safely.
  • Have an emergency plan so family members can contact each other in case of separation.
  • Make sure you and your family are familiar with the technique of “STOP, DROP, AND ROLL” in case of clothes catching on fire.
  • Make sure every floor and all sleeping areas have smoke detectors.
  • Consult with your local fire department about making your home fire-resistant.

During a Wildfire

  • Monitor local radio stations and air quality advisories, as high concentrations of fine particulate matter due to wildfire smoke may be prevalent.
  • Be prepared to evacuate at anytime. If authorities ask you to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until any advisory is lifted.
  • Staying indoors and in air-conditioned spaces helps to reduce fine particulate exposure. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.
  • Contact your health care provider if you experience: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. If you are experiencing symptoms, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, especially along busy traffic corridors.
  • Keep your emergency kit close at hand, in a duffel bag, backpack, or suitcase with wheels. This should include insurance information and important personal documentation.
  • Keep all doors and windows closed in your home.
  • Remove flammable drapes, curtains, awnings or other window coverings.
  • Keep lights on to aid visibility in case smoke fills the house.
  • If sufficient water is available, turn sprinklers on to wet the roof and any water-proof valuables.

For further information on Wildfire Preparedness, visit:

GetPrepared.ca – http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/wldfrs-en.aspx

For further information on Emergency Preparedness, visit: http://focus-canada.org/work/emprep2015/

To learn more about Focus Humanitarian Assistance, visit: www.focus-canada.org and http://www.akdn.org/focus, or contact us on: Tel: +1 800 423 7972 / +1 416 423 7988

Image credit: Zama fire – La Crete, Alberta, 2012.  Courtesy of the Government of Alberta. Used under CC, source https://www.flickr.com/photos/governmentofalberta/with/7551377414/.