Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Calgary safety codes officers lend a hand after flood waters hit Chestermere

For City of Calgary safety codes officers Michael Kennelly and Vernon Durkee, a typical day at work means inspecting construction projects to ensure safety and compliance with the Alberta Building Code.

But last month, they used their skills and knowledge in a different way to help residents in Chestermere after torrential rain and hail flooded hundreds of homes.

City of Calgary Safety Codes Officer Michael Kennelly
The City of Chestermere offered free safety inspections to residents, and Kennelly and Durkee volunteered to assist - visiting an estimated 40 homes over the course of two days. They were checking the extent of flood damage and offering advice to homeowners, including structural issues, mould, wet drywall and more.

“It felt great to help out a fellow municipality in a time of need,” says Kennelly. “The flooding in Chestermere was traumatic for everyone involved. People were at their most vulnerable point; emotions and fear were running high. It was wonderful to be able to be there and to reassure people about what comes next, and that maybe the damage to their home wasn’t as bad as they feared.”

Durkee and Kennelly said that most of the damage to the homes they inspected was minimal, and their advice included ripping out drenched carpet and replacing drywall.

“We used what others at The City of Calgary learned during our flood and applied it to help people in Chestermere,” says Durkee.

The Safety Codes Council of Alberta granted Kennelly and Durkee temporary designation to assist Chestermere, as normally they are only certified to complete inspections in Calgary. Funding for The City of Calgary to help during an event of this magnitude is typically covered by the Disaster Recovery Program through the province of Alberta.

“Working with The City of Chestermere was fantastic,” says Kennelly. “The gratitude we experienced was immense. It was also amazing for training purposes. I’m a fairly new safety codes officer, and it was great to learn about how other municipalities do things.”

Chestermere Deputy Mayor Christopher Steeves says the storms experienced in July had a massive impact on many residents.

“Our community is very resilient,” Steeves says. “We have been working hard to do everything we can to help our citizens get back on their feet after the flooding. We appreciate the support we received from our neighbours and partners at The City of Calgary during this challenging time and would like to pass on our thanks for their assistance.”

In addition to sending safety inspectors to Chestermere, The City of Calgary also allowed Chestermere to use Calgary landfills for flood-damaged items at a reduced rate through Chestermere’s collection bins.

In the past, The City of Calgary has assisted in many ways with emergency operations during disasters in Slave Lake and High River.

More information about flood recovery:

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