Many people in BC not prepared for extreme weather events: survey

Jun 9 2022, 5:32 pm

As Vancouver deals with another atmospheric river this week, a survey has found many people are worried, yet unprepared for extreme weather.

The research from BCAA has found most people in BC 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.

extreme weather

A wildfire near Ladysmith, BC seen from Salt Spring Island in August 2021. (Hannah Spray Photography/Shutterstock)

According to BCAA’s Emergency Preparedness Survey, almost seven-in-10 people are concerned about the potential impact on themselves, while even more (85%) are worried about the potential impacts on the BC 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,” said Namita Kearns, BCAA’s Director of Insurance Products.

While Kearns is hopeful that people 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.

Last year, extreme flooding and mudslides caused by record-breaking precipitation in November led to the most costly disaster in BC history.

bc floods

@City_Abbotsford/Twitter

In total, the extreme weather events have led to an estimated $450 million in insured damage, according to the Province of BCs Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc.

BC also experienced a deadly heat dome almost one year ago, in June 2021.

This week, the BC Coroners Service released its review of heat-related deaths from summer 2021 this morning and it recommends several measures to reduce mortality during future extreme heat events.

Amanda WawrykAmanda Wawryk

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