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British Columbians worried about more extreme weather, but many admit to being unprepared – BCAA survey

Burnaby, B.C., June 7, 2022 – A new BCAA survey shows that 85% of British Columbians are worried about a repeat of last year’s extreme weather events, but a large portion (43%) admit that they haven’t done anything to prepare for potential flooding, atmospheric rivers, wildfires, or extreme heat.

BCAA’s Emergency Preparedness Survey reveals that many British Columbians are fearful about extreme weather events. Sixty-nine per cent are concerned about the impact on themselves personally and 85% are worried about the potential impact to BC’s economy.

“Although our survey indicates that 57% of British Columbians feel they are ready for the worst, that still leaves a large group of people who haven’t acted on their good intentions to prepare and they could get caught by surprise,” says Namita Kearns, BCAA’s Director of Insurance Products.

More than a third (37%) plan to check their insurance policies and add more coverage so they have the most protection possible should weather hit, but they have yet to act. The BCAA survey also found that 48% haven’t yet created an evacuation plan for their families, and 53% still have an emergency kit on their ‘to-do’ list.

While Kearns is hopeful that British Columbians will turn intentions into action, she says she is more concerned about another group who are taking a wait and see approach. Forty-four per cent of those surveyed say they will deal with it “when and if they need to,” and, 43% believe there is nothing they can do to prepare for extreme weather.

“While extreme weather events can feel random, there are real actions that people can take now – before any emergency – that can make a big difference,” Kearns says. She adds that she can’t stress enough how important it is to check and really understand the insurance coverage you have, and what more is available to help you to protect your home, business, and property. Reviewing your coverage and considering topping up with available options may help you to feel less overwhelmed should the worst happen.

BCAA’s top tips for Emergency Preparedness:

  • Make a start: preparedness isn’t all or nothing – every action towards getting more prepared is a positive step. Get started by picking off one simple task and move forward from there.
  • Prepare For Your Safety: plan to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours to allow time for emergency responders to arrive. Have an emergency kit and ensure you have 3-7 days of non-perishable food on hand.
  • Make a plan: Agreeing on a disaster plan and writing it down helps everyone in your household know what to do—especially if you can’t get in touch by phone. Agree on exit routes, meeting points, where to store important documents, etc.
  • Know your home: make sure everyone in your home knows key emergency information, such as where utilities are and how to shut them off if needed, escape routes, where any flammable materials are stored, etc.
  • Know your local risks: make sure you know the risks of wildfire or flood where you live.
  • Prepare your home: consider what you can do now that may help in an emergency. E.g. anchor tall, heavy furniture, store valuables higher up, store hazardous or flammable materials carefully, keep outside areas clear of brush that could catch fire.
  • Review your insurance: don’t wait to review and update your insurance policy as you may not be able to make changes if your home, business, or property is considered at immediate risk. Update your policies regularly, and especially if you’ve renovated or added to your home.

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About the Survey
These results are based on an online survey of a representative sample of 1,000 adult British Columbians surveyed using Leger's panel, LEO, from May 13-15, 2022. As a non-random internet survey, a margin of error is not reported. For comparison, a probability sample of n=1,000 would have a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Any discrepancies between totals are due to rounding.