While the key to building resilient new homes rests on strong building codes and sound construction technique, the key to enhancing the resilience of existing homes centres around increasing awareness about risk, disseminating knowledge about specific measures and actions that homeowners and others can take to reduce the risk, and encouraging insurers and governments to incentivize these measures and actions.
Most newer high-rise buildings, such as condominium towers, and post-disaster structures such as hospitals, are typically fully engineered and tend to perform well during severe weather and earthquake events. However, far less engineering oversight is typically applied to residential construction, making homes especially vulnerable to damage. ICLR has produced guides for homeowners on how to protect their homes from severe wind, wildfire, basement flooding, and snow & ice. At writing, work is being completed on guides for earthquake and overland flood, and a guide on hail is being considered. Each of the guides contain Self Assessments, or quizzes that homeowners can take to rate their level of risk to each specific hazard. The quizzes are also available in an online, interactive format on the Institute’s Facebook page.
ICLR operates an annual Showcase Homes program where a house somewhere in the country is retrofitted to enhance its safety to local hazards. The Institute then works with the media to profile the home and share safety knowledge with the public. Since program inception, 13 homes have been retrofitted: London - tornado (2003); Halifax - hurricane (2004); Vancouver - earthquake (2005); Ottawa - winter storm (2006); Edmonton - tornado (2007); Montreal - ice storm (2008); Toronto - winter storm/blackout (2009); North York - basement flooding (Aug. 19, 2009); Jasper - wildfire (2010); Hamilton - basement flooding (2011); Moncton – basement flooding (2012); and Quebec – earthquake and winter storm (2013) and Burlington – basement flooding (2014). ICLR will continue this program.
The Institute will continue to use all tools at its disposal to increase awareness and disseminate information about resilience, including through its websites (www.iclr.org, www.basementfloodreduction.com and www.reduirelesinondationsdesous-sol.com/); newsletters; public speaking engagements; media interviews; workshops; conferences; and social media, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Additionally, the Institute will continue to work with the Insurance Advisory Committee to encourage member insurers to provide consistent advice to policyholders via the distribution of ICLR homeowner guides and other information, via insurance company mailers/policy ‘stuffers’ and, where applicable, through municipal governments.
The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Toronto Office 20 Richmond Street East, Suite 210, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2R9 Tel: (416) 364-8677 Fax: (416) 364-5889
London Office Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory Western University 1151 Richmond Street, London, Canada N6A 5B9 Tel: (519) 661-3234 Fax: (519) 661-4273