Preparing for and Surviving a Wildfire

04 Apr 2021

Since 1990, wildland fires across Canada have consumed an average of 2.5 million hectares a year.

Wildfires are a serious threat, and it’s crucial that you know what to do before, during, and after a wildfire. Here’s everything you need to know about minimizing your risk and staying safe when a wildfire threatens you and your home or business’s survival:


  • Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of insurance policy, what it covers and also what it doesn’t cover.
  • Surround buildings and decks with a “flame free” 10m zone. This should be a fire resistance zone, free of all materials that could easily ignite from a wildfire.
  • Have easily accessible fire extinguishers and/or fire pump on the premises
  • Prune all tree branches within 2 metres of the ground and remove needle accumulations beneath trees
  • Inspect and seal any external vent on your roof, walls and soffits with 3mm metal screen.
  • Plan ahead. Assemble an emergency supply kit and store it in a safe spot. Develop an emergency evacuation plan and practise it with all employees.
  • Identify escape routes/safe zones where you could take shelter if a fire came roaring through the area. Safe zones include rivers, lakes (get in the water), or large level spots out in the open away from combustible material. Heat rises, so the safest zones are those that are downhill of the fire.


  • Shut off all gas appliances as well as the main gas valve to your dwellings. Remove as much of the flammable materials as possible from within Zone 1.
  • Close all windows, doors, vents, blinds before evacuating
  • Leave the area immediately. Wildfires are so powerful, unpredictable, and destructive, that even well-equipped and trained professional fire fighters face great risk.
  • Choose downhill, not uphill routes if possible. Fire moves faster uphill due to updrafts.


  • Await instructions from government officials before returning.
  • Check roofs and attics for hot spots or sparks and extinguish them immediately.
  • Use caution when entering a building and avoid all standing water, it may have an electrical charge.
  • Check over all utilities and consult us if damage has been done.

Chris Saelens joined The Standard in February 2020. Chris’ role as the VP of Claims Management is to make sure insurance claims are processed smoothly and accurately, while ensuring our clients are satisfied. Chris has quickly become an integral part of our leadership team and brings a wealth of experience to his role, coming from Claimspro as an insurance adjuster.

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