Wildfires. Flooding. Extreme Heat. All are well known to folks living in communities across North America. However, the increased frequency and intensity of severe, and often catastrophic, weather events are undeniable. As is the direct link between climate change and their severity. Sadly, these events seem to catch public officials off guard as they rip through communities causing untold suffering and tragedy.
It’s been a particularly tough summer. Natural Resources Canada calculates the area ravaged by wildfires so far this year to top 16.5 million hectares, over 600% of the normal average burn.
From Nova Scotia to BC, to the recent evacuation of Yellowknife, and the horrific stories of fire raining from the sky above Lahaina, climate change’s role in fuelling wildfires is devastatingly clear. As are the consequences. Loss of life for some. Displacement for many. Poor air quality for all.
The cost is felt in physical and emotional suffering. But also, the economic toll looms large. We can only presume that total insurable losses this year in Canada will jump significantly from the $3.1 billion figure for 2022.
The reality is that this is, quite possibly, as good as it’s going to get. Delaying action is no longer viable. We need to prepare for the reality ahead of us with every tool at our disposal.
While governments grapple with nascent adaptation strategies and well-known efforts to reduce carbon emissions, perhaps it’s time to engage more technological solutions to prevent some of the physical, psychological, and financial loss.
For over 20 years, iK Insights has brought data to life through visual platforms that contextualize and communicate insights faster, helping decision makers take necessary action. iK Insights operates at the intersection of risk management, human factors, and data science to help organizations build resiliency and enhance performance.
It could help governments do the same.
When it comes to emergency preparedness, the issue isn’t a lack of data. There’s plenty of that. From meteorological to geographical, from infrastructural to bio-physical, the data exists. But what good is data if it sits idle in a large warehouse, on a server, or floating happily in the cloud? And when deployed, how useful, really, are spreadsheets, PowerPoints, or narrative briefs that become obsolete the moment the weather changes or when decisions need to be taken yesterday?
By simplifying often complex and opaque data in an accessible and portable manner, iK Insights can improve proactive emergency planning and response, allowing for real-time analysis about what is going on and what is likely to happen next. Frankly put, this tool can not only help prevent environmental degradation and reduce the exorbitant cost of cleaning up the mess, but it can also help save lives.
InterKnowlogy has first-hand experience helping reduce the devastating effects of wildfires. Working with a North American leading energy provider of 3.3 million consumers, iK Insights was able to help the utility identify imminent wildfire risks, proactively deploy mitigation strategies, and measure the impacts of their actions. Ultimately, the solution helped drastically reduce response times, ensuring reliability of the grid, keeping operations running and consumers safe.
Despite recent improvements to Canada’s mitigation strategy against natural disasters, more must be done to ensure that data is deployed in an accessible manner. Gleaning insights quickly can spur action that reduces damage and saves lives.
Real-time, visually appealing data that is available on-the-go can improve decision time, enabling better communication and coordination amongst emergency responders. Ultimately better insights can prepare the population for a future where extreme weather events are the norm.