Record 22 global tropical cyclones have now developed in the Northern Hemisphere in 2015

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MADD Canada Is Asking People to Get a Red Ribbon and Then ‘Tie it, Wear it, Show it, Share it and Live it’ as Their Commitment to Sober Driving

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ICBC’s top 8 Halloween safety tips for parents and drivers

ICBC’s top 8 Halloween safety tips for parents and drivers

With Halloween creeping up on us, ICBC is asking everyone to help keep trick-or-treaters safe by preparing children for a safe night out, and for drivers to be extra careful when travelling through neighbourhoods.

Every year, an average of 120 people are injured in 83 crashes on Halloween night in B.C.*

Tips for drivers:

  1. Don’t get spooked. Children may be difficult to see while trick-or-treating. They may be walking in unexpected places like driveways, alleys and parking lots. Others may try to cross in the middle of the street. Make sure there are no small children behind your vehicle by walking around it before getting in. Drive slowly and with extra caution, particularly in residential areas.

  2. Be frightened by your phone: Not only is distracted driving illegal, it’s one of the main causes of crashes with pedestrians. With so many children on the road on Halloween night, remember to leave the phone alone so that you can focus on driving.

  3. Avoid being tricked by securing your car. Halloween is second only to New Year’s Day for vehicle vandalism incidents on holidays or annual celebrations.** Park your car in your garage or an underground parkade. If you park on the street, park in a well-lit area, remove any valuables and lock your car.

Tips for parents and guardians:

  1. Add bright to their fright. No matter what children dress up as this Halloween, they also need to dress to be seen. Add reflective tape to their costume and supply them with a flashlight or glowstick to increase their visibility to drivers.

  2. Use the magic of make-up. Masks can obscure the vision of little ghosts and goblins. The safest way to enhance your child’s costume is to use makeup instead of a mask, which will give them a clear, unobstructed view.

  3. Gather ghouls together. Walk in groups to help drivers and others see you and your children. Have enough adults to safely accompany the children.

  4. Create a candy trail. If your children will be trick-or-treating without you, establish a route and set a time limit. Remind them to stay on the sidewalk, visit houses on one side of the street first, and to only cross the street at marked crosswalks.

  5. Plan for a safe – not scary – ride home. Since Halloween is for the big kids too, if your festivities include alcohol, plan for a safe ride home. Get a designated driver or bring money for a taxi or transit. If you’re hosting a party this weekend, make sure your guests get home safely, too.

Regional statistics*:

  • On average, 90 people are injured in 62 crashes on Halloween night in the Lower Mainland.

  • On average, 13 people are injured in nine crashes on Halloween night on Vancouver Island.

  • On average, 15 people are injured in nine crashes on Halloween night in the Southern Interior.

  • On average, five people are injured in three crashes on Halloween night in the North Centralregion.

* ICBC data based on five year average (2009 to 2013) on Halloween between 3 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Crashes are casualty crashes, where there was at least one person injured or killed.

** ICBC data over the last five years (2009 to 2013) on Halloween for the entire 24-hour period (00:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.).

Media contact:
Joanna Linsangan

Kansas university finds creative way to test drones; outdoor netted area allows safe research

Kansas university finds creative way to test drones; outdoor netted area allows safe research

By Scott Mayerowitz


This photo provided by Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus shows the school’s new drone. Read more…

NEW YORK _ Researchers at Kansas State University’s Salina campus have found a unique solution to testing drones in a real-world environment while maintaining safety: They built a very big cage.

The Federal Aviation Administration has severe restrictions on where drones can fly outdoors, including a prohibition within five miles of an airport. The college’s campus happens to fall within such a five-mile radius. So, since the school started an unmanned aircraft program in 2008, flights have had to occur offsite.

The 300-foot long, 200-foot wide and 50-foot tall netted structure looks a bit like a fully-enclosed golf driving range. The nets held up by wooden utility poles allow the wind, rain, snow or other weather conditions to easily pass into the test area and don’t block GPS signals. That means that researchers can test the drones in lifelike situations without risking safety.

Unmanned aircraft promise to change numerous businesses and public safety functions. Electric companies want them to inspect miles of remote power lines. Farmers want them to survey land or find bugs or soil that is too dry or lacking nutrients. Insurance companies want them to assess damage after a disaster. And firefighters want them to help battle wildfires.

The quickly-growing industry hasn’t yet developed sophisticated collision-avoidance systems or found ways for the aircraft to navigate without human help.

And day after day there is another report of people flying their drones where they aren’t supposed to, like near the White House. The Federal Aviation Administration now receives about 100 reports a month from pilots who say they’ve seen drones flying near planes and airports, compared with only a few sightings per month last year.

Kansas State University’s new drone testing pavilion shows the creative but also cumbersome steps that those trying to advance the use of unmanned aircraft face.




The US$ 1.3 trillion disaster protection gap is widening, says new Swiss Re report

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Aon: California wildfire claims breach $1bn as peak season begins

CHICAGO, Oct. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, today launches the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during September 2015. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

The report reveals that several wildfires impacted California during the month; the Valley Fire, which occurred northwest of San Francisco, was the third-most damaging wildfire in state history, killing four people and destroying 1,958 homes and other structures. Forecast economic losses from the fire were in excess of USD1.5 billion, with preliminarily insured losses estimated at more than USD925 million.

Meanwhile, the Butte Fire, which occurred southeast of Sacramento and was the seventh-most damaging wildfire in state history, killed two people and caused total estimated economic losses of at USD450 million, with insurance losses expected to be above USD225 million.

With peak U.S. wildfire season in California having started in late September and lasting through early November, wildfires in 2015 have already caused more damage and financial loss in the U.S. than in any other year since 2007.

Adam Podlaha, Head of Impact Forecasting, said: “The severity of the September wildfires in California serves as a reminder of how costly the peril can be for the insurance industry. With insurers facing more than USD1.0 billion in claims payouts for the Valley and Butte fires alone, it makes it the costliest year for the peril since 2007. The peak of the California wildfire season is just beginning, and Impact Forecasting remains well suited to help our clients assess their risks given our brushfire model for the region.”

Elsewhere in September:

  • Officials in Indonesia declared 2015 as the worst year for wildfires since 1997, following a reported USD4.0 billion in direct and secondary economic losses from fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
  • A magnitude-8.3 earthquake impacted central Chile on September 16, triggering tsunami waves and killing 14 people. Over one million residents were evacuated as economic losses neared USD1.0 billion.
  • A magnitude-6.6 earthquake struck eastern Indonesia on September 25. Dozens of individuals were injured as nearly 2,500 homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed.
  • Extensive flooding affected portions of Japan, killing eight people and damaging or destroying 20,000 homes. Three large insurers in Japan estimated payouts of at least JPY30 billion (USD250 million).
  • Damaging floods were reported in the U.S., India, Myanmar, China, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Spain, and throughout Central America and the Caribbean.
  • Typhoon Dujuan struck Taiwan and China, killing at least three people in Taiwan and injuring hundreds of others. Combined economic losses were listed at USD680 million; insured losses were USD79 million.
  • Severe thunderstorms in Italy prompted economic losses of more than USD2.2 million as widespread damages were reported to structures, vehicles, and crops.
  • 32 people were killed by lightning strikes in eastern India.
  • Drought conditions intensified across western Canada, as annual insurance claims in Alberta alone were estimated at up to USD675 million. Nationally, economic losses were estimated beyond USD1.0 billion.
  • A severe sandstorm killed 12 people as it swept through areas of the Middle East.

To view the full Impact Forecasting September 2015 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link:

Along with the report, users can access current and historical natural catastrophe data and event analysis on Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight website, which is updated bi-monthly as new data become available:

Further information

For further information please contact the Aon Benfield PR team: Andrew Wragg (+44 207 522 8183 / 07595 217168) David Bogg or Alexandra Lewis


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