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85% of British Columbians fear another extreme weather event, but few are prepared: survey

Almost half of survey respondents taking “wait-and-see” approach, BCAA found
A wildfire burns in the mountains north of Lytton on July 1, 2021. According to a survey 2022 survey by BCAA, most British Columbians fear more extreme weather events. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

A BCAA survey run ahead of the anniversary of B.C.’s heat dome shows the vast majority of residents worry about another extreme weather event, but almost half believe there is nothing they can do to prepare.

BCAA surveyed 1,000 adult British Columbians from May 13 to 15, and 85 per cent said they fear another heat dome or other deadly event. Of them, 69 per cent indicated personal fear and 85 per cent said they feared for the economy.

Still, only 57 per cent said they feel 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,” Namita Kearns, BCAA’s director of insurance products, said in a news release.

Forty-four per cent of respondents said they are taking a “wait-and-see” approach and will deal with it “when and if they need to,” and 43 per cent said they don’t believe there is anything they can do.

Slightly more than half of people (53 per cent) said they still have making an emergency kit on their to-do list and 48 per cent said they haven’t made an evacuation plan for their families.

Kearns said she finds the lack of proactive action concerning.

“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,” she said.

BCAA recommends people make a plan to ensure they can be self-sufficient for 72 hours and that they create an emergency kit with three to seven days of non-perishable food. It also suggests making a disaster plan with exit routes, meeting points and agreed on spots to keep important documents.

People should also know how to shut off their utilities and where any flammable products are in their homes, BCAA says. It adds people can act ahead by securing tall or heavy furniture that could topple over, storing valuables up high, and clearing their property of brush that could easily catch fire.

It also suggests people review their insurance to ensure they are covered in the event of an emergency.

READ ALSO: Review into B.C.’s 2021 heat dome deaths finds 93% didn’t have air conditioning

READ ALSO: B.C. launches heat alert system following 2021’s deadly heat dome


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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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