Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Montreal Flood Victims Fail to Heed Mother Nature

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't buy my home in an area at risk of flooding, it just isn't worth it. We are hearing people say that this or that river hasn't flooded in fifteen years, so the risk is minimal, but for me once in fifteen years is once too often and if a location is at risk of flooding in adverse conditions, one must pretty much assume it is going to flood at one point in your life.
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 seems that cutting a fire break (as shown in the above video) in Fort McMurray after the fire is a case of closing the barn door after the cows have escaped.

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 has shown me that homeowners could have bought many different emergency flood barriers that could very well save their homes from disaster.

There exists many different types of  flood barriers that can surround your house with little effort and require only the foresight to prepare and the willingness to spend money as a precaution.
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.

Clearly areas that are flooded with five feet of water are beyond hope, but most flooded homes are subject to less than a foot of water and so homeowners could have saved their property with a little preparation.
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.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Berlach, the reason that those homeowners in flood-prone areas do not have flood insurance is because insurance companies do not cover them specifically, or if some of those companies willing to cover the premium is exceedingly high due to the risk involved (duh!). It then seems that homeowners choose to roll the dice because hey, who does not want to live in a waterfront property?