Weather Extremes / Emergency Preparedness OVERVIEW

* Check for power outages: Hydro One Storm Centre & outage map…

What FOCA sees: The waterfront property community has always been self-reliant and resilient in the face of adversity. FOCA advocates personal responsibility for every waterfront property owner, as part of good risk management. Whether flood, fire or other severe weather events, it falls to each of us to be reasonably prepared for emergencies that arrive with force and little warning.

FOCA Fact Sheet – Emergency Preparedness Tips (download PDF, 2 pages)

Additional Links and Resources

Take the Red Cross House Fire Safety Quiz

Bad Weather Can Lead to Bad Water (link to webpage – tips from Viqua)

Emergency Preparedness Resources and Tips (download PDF, 3 pages; Province of Ontario, Apr. 2018)

Check out an infographic summarizing standard emergency kit contents, by clicking the image at the side, or this link.

Video: Your 72 hour emergency kit

Get important tips from Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) about how to be prepared, here…

Tips about Cottage Country Flooding (Insurance Bureau of Canada, 2013)

Preventative action can minimize loss, but overland flooding is a real risk for those located in a flood plain or close to rivers or lakes. Visit Environment Canada’s website for tips on how to plan ahead and manage sudden weather like lightning, floods, wind storms and more:

Read this blog: “Flooding Happens, it’s only a matter of time” (Conservation Ontario, 2013)

FOCA has been a champion for better rural emergency planning, preparedness and response for many years – See a recent letter from FOCA to OFM/EMO on the subject.

FOCA reminds members:

  • Ontario homes are limited in insurance coverage for damage due to overland water
  • seasonal properties are NOT covered by the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program, a provincial financial assistance emergency tool.*

* About ODRAP: The Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) is a provincial financial assistance program intended to alleviate the hardship suffered by private homeowners, farmers, and small businesses whose property has been damaged in a natural disaster declared by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. ODRAP is not an alternative or a substitute for private insurance coverage and risk management. Damage claims should be directed first to insurance companies to determine coverage of individual policies.


“Safety for Ontarians begins at home, or at the cottage,” said Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief of Emergency Management Ontario, Alison Stuart in 2013. “Ensuring your family is prepared in case of a disaster should be a key priority for cottagers.”

Anticipating the disaster and reducing the risk before it happens can be crucial. “We spend billions to recover rather than spend millions to invest before the event hits,” Environment Canada’s Senior Climatologist David Phillips stressed when speaking to the National Insurance Conference of Canada (NICC) on October 4, 2015.

Related News

September 23, 2018 – Tornado aftermath: City’s emergency management branch tested again after river floods (Ottawa Citizen)

Lessons learned from the Ottawa-area floods in 2017 helped better prepare the region for subsequent community-wide emergencies. 

July 25, 2018 – U.S. Is Unprepared for the Health Challenges of Climate Change, Experts Warn  (Scientific American)

May 7, 2018 – Emergency notification test across Ontario – and see more about “Alert Ready” under March 2018 news, below

March 27, 2018 – Environment Commissioner: Canada Is Not Prepared To Tackle Climate Change   Neither Ottawa nor the provinces have really assessed the risks a changing climate poses to the country and have no real idea what might be needed to adapt to it   (iPolitics)

March 20, 2018 – NEW Emergency Alert System for mobile phones in Canada!
FOCA is pleased to hear that the Alert Ready Emergency Alert System will be providing georeferenced Emergency notifications through smart phones!  These emergency alerts will be issued to a defined geographic area, such that only people in the defined area will receive the emergency alerts. Your compatible wireless device will receive the emergency alert within seconds of being issued, provided your phone is powered on and connected to the LTE cellular network.

When an alert is heard, it is the responsibility of the public to stop, listen and respond as directed by the issuing authority and the alert message.

image: asterix buttonFOCA notes that, to function as intended, your wireless device must be 4G LTE, wireless public alerting (WPA)-compatible, and be connected to an LTE cellular network at the time when the emergency alert is issued. This may limit the system’s functioning in some areas.” For related information, see the article “Tackling Cellular Dead Zones,” in the 2016 FOCA Newsletter.

image: at emergency preparedness event Peterborough May2017

May, 2017 – FOCA participated in an emergency management simulation hosted by  the County and City of Peterborough, the local health unit and other agencies. In conversation at the event with representatives from the Ontario Fire Marshall /Emergency Management Ontario (OFM/EMO), we learned that Ontario is putting in place a modern geospatial alerting system (using cell phones/text), to replace/supplement the existing emergency notification system. Interested? You can sign up, here. FOCA will be sure to advise our members when the system is live (expected in 2018).

May 14, 2017 – Spend more on disaster planning to save in emergency relief, evaluation says (CBC)

May 12, 2017 –  Globe editorial: The floodwaters are rising in Canada. When will Ottawa finally deal with it?

May 12, 2017 – What are flood maps, and why are they important? (CBC)

May 12, 2017 – Move on, rebuild smarter, elsewhere: flood lessons learned in parts of Alberta (CBC)

May 9, 2017 – The Salvation Army Responds to Flood Situations Across Canada (CNW)

May 8, 2017 – In Canada, flooding happens because governments let it happen (The Globe and Mail)

May 7, 2017 – Flood. Rinse. Repeat: The costly cycle that must end (The Globe and Mail)

March 27, 2017 – Ontario’s Flood preparedness is out of date (CBC Radio – flooding piece runs from 0:35 to 6:48)

March 13, 2017 – Plain out of date: Mapping risk in Ontario’s floodplains  – Conservation Ontario estimates that about three-quarters of the province’s floodplain maps are out of date. The dangers start with property damage and extend as far as potential loss of life (TVO)

February 10, 2017 – Preventing and Reducing the Impacts of Flooding Makes Good Business Sense
(Conservation Ontario / Canadian Investment Review)
February 3, 2017 – Pension assets at risk due to a lack of flood preparedness. According to the Canadian Investment Review most Provinces barely get a passing grade. Investors can be adversely affected by not only the physical damage caused by flooding, but also by the escalating economic impacts associated with these catastrophic events.

Weather Trends

For 2013, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) announced that severe weather caused a record amount of damage in Canada, and Aviva Canada identified water damage as the primary culprit.

Michelle LewinWeather Extremes / Emergency Preparedness OVERVIEW