What Can We Learn From A Massive Fire Loss?

by Carolyn

At the beginning of this month, 80,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes due to uncontrollable fires that swept their way through the town of Fort McMurray. If you’ve seen footage, I’m sure you felt sorrow for those having to go through such an ordeal. I couldn’t imagine. It brought to mind all the things I would stand to lose and how I would personally deal with such an unfortunate event.

Aside from my life coaching business, I also work in the insurance industry. I was able to speak with the evacuees first hand and hear their stories. I must say I was touched and impressed by the majority of folks with how they were coping. With this mentioned, the following are some ideas and thoughts of what I learnt.

Keep a perspective on whats really important. Its true what they say, things can be replaced but not those near and dear to our hearts. For the families who lost loved ones during this time, my thoughts and prayers are with you. There are many agencies (see resource list below) and people ready and willing to offer their expertise including myself. Please reach out if you need help regardless of what you’ve been pained by. There are people who care deeply and want to be there for you in your hour of need.

A strong and caring community can help us get through anything. I’ve witnessed such an out pouring of assistance and support from folks big and small which solidified my faith in this idea. For example, companies in our community donated their own resources and agreed to triple its employees contributions. I saw a report of a young boy selling lemonade at grocery store raising money towards the relief efforts. Airbnb hosts, offered their spaces/homes for free and lastly the company WestJet flew evacuees back to safety. There are more examples but too many to mention herein this blog.

Having proper insurance coverage in place is important. I believe this goes without saying, although (even working in the industry) I did question whether or not I had the right amount of coverage in place if this were to happen to me. Its important to speak with your broker and become personally acquainted with your home and auto policies. Please do not leave this to chance. This is not something to procrastinate on or turn a blind eye to. Its your life. You must protect your family and future.

Ultimately what I learnt about this event is that human beings are resilient and the people of Fort McMurray will get through this and rebuild again. My hope is that they’ll become a closer and stronger community. If you have thoughts on how to rebuild after loss, I encourage you to share your comments below.

The following resources may be helpful for those affected by the fire loss:

Recovering emotionally after a residential fire

Shepell: Employee and Family Assistance Program

Airbnb co-ordinate free emergency homes for Fort Mac evacuees

Private companies and municipalities pitching in to help with the huge wildfire

Questions about home and auto insurance


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