Ensuring your home is safe in case of the unexpected is imperative. Rocky View County has launched a fire and flood home protection program that will do just that.
Through home assessments performed by AET Group and the Rocky View County Fire Services, individuals will be able to identify fire and flood risks.
On the flood side of things, assessors will come in and analyze conditions of your home that may put you at danger or an increase vulnerability to flooding.
"Floods occur for many different reasons, snow melt, blocked gutters, overland flooding in the spring so the assessors go around and it's a 60- to 90-minute assessment," said, Randy Smith, manager of fire services and director of emergency management for Rocky View County. "It's quite an in-depth look at your home and they identify key aspects that you can do to prevent flooding through the years."
Smith goes on to add the importance of having a sump pump and making sure to test it so that if a situation arises where you need to use it you are familiar on how to do so.
On the fire side of things, an assessment of your home will be done by the municipal fire department through a FireSmart perspective. This will take around 30 to 45 minutes. Through the new program, your home would be registered and, depending on the rating you receive after the assessment, you may be eligible to save costs on your fire insurance.
"I think this is a huge step forward in trying to make homes fire safe, especially in the rural areas. The difference is somebody might say I had a FireSmart assessment done two years ago by the fire department so what we are saying now is call again. What will happen is that the fire department comes in and identifies some tasks that you might need to do around your home. There is grant money available to assist in getting these tasks done, whether it be taking a tree down, having a contractor come in and clean gutters or what have you so those that participate in these assessments can then go online and apply and actually get some assistance in achieving a FireSmart or flood safe home," said Smith.
The fire assessment will see your home divided into zones, which will then be further reviewed. Within the first 10 m of your home, they will look at things like leaf build-up underneath your deck, if you have firewood stacked up against your home, the types of trees that are right against your house and anything else that is around that may be flammable and add to the probability of your home suffering damage should there be a wildfire or grass fire.
The assessment will provide home owners with tips and tricks to prevent an uncontrollable situation. Although the list can be extensive and overwhelming following the assessment, it's all about being proactive.
"Every little thing helps whether it's floodproofing your home or fireproofing your home, every little thing helps and so it's just having a list of items that you can do. A lot of them are just clean up around the yard, cleaning the leaves up against the house and they are simple to do," explains Smith.
Following the assessments, homeowners can apply online for a grant of up to $9,000 – all thanks to the Red Cross Society's generous support – to take preventive measures in keeping their homes and family safe.
Valued at $475, up to 150 flood home protection assessments will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. The fire assessments will be unlimited and free of charge. Applications can be found at www.rockyview.ca/protect.
Residents are also encouraged to download the Safe and Sound notification system to receive emergency alerts and subscribe to County news by vising www.rockyview.ca/safe