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Free flood, fire assessments deadline fast approaching for county residents

Since the County program started in 2019, RVC has offered 150 free flood assessments, unlimited free fire assessments, and corresponding grants for residents to complete their mitigation tasks.
Rocky View County received $2.29 million in Provincial funding to enable repairs to be done on 33 projects resulting from the June 2013 flooding in southern Alberta.
Rocky View County received funding from Red Cross to help county homeowners with flood mitigation, following the June 2013 flooding in southern Alberta.

Rocky View County is urging its residents not to wait for floodwaters or fire to expose their home's vulnerabilities, but to sign up for a free fire and flood home protection assessment before the June 15 deadline.

Since the County program started in 2019, RVC has offered 150 free flood assessments, unlimited free fire assessments, and corresponding grants for residents to complete their mitigation tasks.

“This program is extremely important because it's an opportunity for residents to build their own resilience to flood and fire risk,” said Carmin O’Neal, emergency management coordinator and deputy director of emergency management. “When they do that, their home is better protected and it's free. This is free mitigation work we're offering to residents.”

The initiative was born out of the $1.4 million grant raised by the Red Cross for the RVC area following the 2013 floods in southern Alberta.

O’Neal added the program, which comes to an end after June 15, provides a great opportunity and that it’s unlikely the County will receive a grant like this again.

Any unspent funds after this year will be returned to the Red Cross, which means residents need to apply for their assessments or mitigation grants soon.

“The more resilience we can build up in our communities, the better we will all be off when it comes to any large disaster event,” O’Neal said.

Since the beginning of April, RVC has completed 13 flood assessments, according to program leader Pauli Kruger.

Certain areas of the county are at higher risk of flooding than others, such as by the Elbow River in Bragg Creek, while the east side of the county is more at risk for overland flooding, O’Neal explained.

“Anyone can be susceptible to flooding and the program is actually focusing on more of an overland flood type event and what to do to protect your home from potential flooding,” O’Neal said.

Kruger added that people with flooding in their basements after a rain or hail storm can take small mitigating actions that will result in major improvement.

A report with improvement recommendations is provided to each homeowner after the assessment, which they can choose to follow in order to protect their homes.

The report is extensive, according to Kruger.

“It's really valuable to have lots of information for the residents,” she said. “The recommendations in that report [can include], for example, to extend your downspouts, replace your gutters, look at the humidity in your basement, seal cracks in your foundation walls, or install a window well, 

“It's a fantastic report for a homeowner to have.”

According to the County’s website, the Home Flood Protection Assessment includes a 60-to-90-minute evaluation with a 50-point visual assessment for flood risks, such as downspouts, backwater valves, sewer pipes, and water wells. 

The assessment is completed by AET Group Inc. – a national environmental consulting agency at a value of $475 plus GST per property.

The Home Fire Protection Assessment, meanwhile, lasts approximately two hours and is completed by an RVC evaluator.

Fire risk varies in the county due to moisture levels, storm activity and human factors, according to the RVC website.

Once an assessment has been completed, homeowners are provided with a list of mitigating actions and recommendations. They can apply for a portion of the grant held by RVC to resolve those issues.

A home fire mitigation grant covers tree removal and pruning of conifer trees up to 10 metres from a home, while the home flood mitigation grant covers roof cleanliness, backwater valve installation, sealing cracks in foundation walls and floors, disconnecting downspouts, and window wells and well coverings.

After June 15, residents can still have a flood assessment done, but at a cost of $475 plus GST to AET Group Inc. 

Home fire assessments are ongoing and capacity-based, but the grant for mitigating any detected issues lasts until the spring of 2022.

For more information about the program, to book an assessment appointment for either flood or fire protection, or to apply for a grant before the June 15 deadline, visit rockyview.ca/home-fire-flood-assessments.

Any questions about the program can be sent to emergencymanagement@rockyview.ca.