Each year urban flooding in Canada causes up to $2 billion in damage, yet less than 15% of homeowners carry flood insurance. While every prudent homeowner carries fire insurance, floods are actually a much bigger risk.
I sympathize with the plight of people losing their homes or suffering tens of thousands of dollars in damage, but I cannot understand their logic in buying a home at risk and being so naively unprepared.
Last year the town of Fort McMurray suffered a catastrophic forest fire that cost the city 2,500 dwellings and cost upwards of $2.5 billion in damage. While officials shrugged off the disaster, blaming Mother Nature I couldn't help but wondering how a city allowed itself to become so vulnerable.
Allowing forested areas to abut an urban center is just asking for trouble and a simple fire break ( a zone around the town where trees would be removed to stop any progression of fire) seems to be a solution that nobody thought about.
I cannot fathom the recklessness.
It all comes down to preparedness and I'm sorry to say that officials in Fort McMurray were negligent as are the various city officials and homeowners in Montreal who allowed themselves to be overpowered by a very predictable natural occurrence.
I am sorry to kick people when they are down, but the lack of preparedness is simply appalling.
Watching soldiers and citizens filling sandbags in a decidedly losing battle is depressing and sad and it had me wondering if this sandbagging is the only remedy.
Alas a quick tour on Amazon.com has shown me that homeowners could have bought many different emergency flood barriers that could very well save their homes from disaster.
A typical home can be surrounded with 4 inch protection for about $300 or about $900 per each foot high.
It sounds expensive if you need several feet of protection, but considering the cost of the damage, it's a bargain.
These barriers are self-inflating and can be erected in less than an hour.
I bet none of the flooded homeowners were even aware that they could have saved their homes with a simple solution.
And so flooded homeowners can blame the city, they can blame Mother Nature, but few are willing to blame themselves for being so naive about the flood risk and being so woefully unprepared to face the consequences.
Let me say this, if you buy a home in an at-risk flood zone, buy flood insurance, a couple of pumps and a flood barrier that can surround your home.
If you aren't prepared to do so, you are rolling the dice.
And as sure as night follows day, irresponsible flooded homeowners will demand that taxpayers bail them out for damages caused by their own stupidity.
As I said before, I feel bad for these people but when this ordeal is over, an honest reassessment is in order.