RSA Canada urges caution as Fort McMurray residents prepare for re-entry

Thursday, May 26, 2016
RSA Canada is urging Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo customers impacted by the Fort McMurray wildfires to exercise extreme caution as they prepare for the voluntary return to their homes between June 1 and June 15 as announced by the Alberta government.

Premier Notley cautioned that critical conditions must be met before the more than 85,000 evacuees will be permitted to return to the community on a voluntary and phased-in basis, including the sufficient taming of the massive wildfire, improved air quality and the restoration of basic services.

“Safety has always been the number one priority through this disaster and it remains so as residents start returning to Fort McMurray on or soon after June 1,” says Paul MacDonald, SVP Claims, RSA Canada.

“Many of these people will be seeing their homes for the first time since the wildfires took hold, and naturally they’ll want to see if their properties have suffered any damage, but we can’t stress enough the importance of safety in this situation,” MacDonald says. “Residents need to listen to the authorities. Customers won’t be allowed to re-enter their homes if they have been deemed unsafe, and they will need to get formal permission from a fire inspector before re-entering.”

“There will be a number of extra resources on the ground, including field adjusters, media, emergency authorities and other members of the general public who will be interested in what’s happened. Our advice is to consult with the local authorities to determine when the best re-entry time is for you.”

In preparation for residents re-entering the region, the RSA claims team has ramped up its operations and is ready to handle the increased volume of calls that will likely follow once damages have been observed.

RSA Canada offers some simple tips for Fort McMurray customers on the next steps with their insurance claims:

  • Do not re-enter the house unless an authorized fire service representative has given approval.
  • When accessing your property for the first time, make sure you are wearing the appropriate clothing, like boots, safety glasses and rubber gloves. Extreme caution is advised when re-entering your home as structures may have been damaged or moved.
  • Once you’ve accessed your property and know the condition, call your adjuster or contact your broker to update them. They’ll be able to provide assistance on what the next steps are.
  • Take photos where possible and provide to your insurer. They will be used to assess the damage to your home and contents.
  • Listen to the authorities and local media for instructions. The most up-to-date information for local residents is available at
  • Check food and water supplies for contamination and spoilage.
  • The Canadian Red Cross has some helpful tips on re-entering your home after a fire.

Customers can contact RSA Canada at 1 800 319 9993 with any questions.

Johnson customers can call 1 844 229 1272 with any questions.

More information about making a claim is available here: Follow us on Twitter (@RSACanada) for ongoing updates.

Media Enquiries: 
Amalia Kyriacou
Communications Manager
(647) 466-4101