Haldimand County Hosting Flooding Hazard Information Session With Grand River, Long Point Region And Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authorities

Haldimand County is inviting residents to attend an information session regarding Lake Erie flooding hazards and preparedness measures on Monday, December 2, 2019 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Dunnville Community Lifespan Centre (275 Ramsey Drive, Dunnville). Staff from the County and Grand River, Long Point Region and Niagara Peninsula conservation authorities will be present to share information and answer questions.

While Lake Erie’s static water level has decreased over recent months, there remains a heightened risk of significant shoreline flooding, beach submersion, crawl space/septic system inundation and wave-driven erosion. This risk is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

At the December 2nd information session, residents will have an opportunity to learn about the record high lake levels, the roles each agency plays in watershed/shoreline management and flood response, how to stay informed about flood events, and measures residents can take to protect themselves and their property.

“We’ve already seen the damaging power of Lake Erie and the impacts it can have on our waterways and shorelines. With lake levels as high as they are, we really need property owners to understand the severity of these hazards and know exactly what to do and how to stay informed before, during and after a flood event,” said Jason Gallagher, Haldimand County’s Fire Chief & Manager of Emergency Services.

A brief presentation led by Haldimand County Emergency Services and the Grand River Conservation Authority will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by a ‘meet and greet’ with County and conservation authority staff.

Following the presentation, residents are encouraged to visit information stations to ask questions of staff and find out specifics about their property, including whether their property is in a designated flood zone, which conservation authority jurisdiction they fall within & what permits may be required for shoreline protection structures/how to obtain them.

Haldimand Residents Invited To ‘Meet & Greets’ With O.P.P. & Police Services Board

The Haldimand County Police Services Board and Haldimand County O.P.P. Detachment are hosting three ‘Meet & Greet’ open houses to discuss community issues and provide residents with an opportunity to learn more about policing.

Meet & Greet schedule:

Jarvis – Thursday, November 28, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Jarvis Lawn Bowling Building (2020 Main Street South, Jarvis)

Caledonia – Thursday, December 12, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Remax Room at the Haldimand County Caledonia Centre (3-100 Haddington Street, Caledonia)

Dunnville – Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Optimist Club of Dunnville (101 Main Street East, Dunnville)

The Meet & Greet format will be an open forum moderated by Police Services Board Chair Bernie Corbett. Residents who attend will have the chance to ask questions and chat with both police officers & Police Services Board members. The goal of the ‘Meet & Greet’ sessions is to generate meaningful conversations about community issues, needs and concerns.

More information about policing in Haldimand County, including the 2017-2019 Haldimand County OPP Action Plan, is available at haldimandcounty.ca/police-services.

Flood Watch Upgraded To Flood Warning For Lake Erie Shoreline

Effective immediately, the Long Point Region Conservation Authority (LPRCA) is issuing a Flood Warning for the entire Lake Erie shoreline within its jurisdiction. The Watershed Conditions Statement issued by the Grand River Conservation Authority remains in effect.

Environment Canada is forecasting 70 km/h winds or higher out of the south-west with gusts 90 km/h or higher this evening and continuing into early Friday morning.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is currently forecasting Port Colborne to rise 1.4 meters above the current level to an elevation of 176.0 meters (IGLD) and Long Point to rise 0.9 meters above the current level to an elevation of 175.5 meters (IGLD). Strong winds are expected to cause wave heights to reach up to 1.8 meters in the Port Colborne area and up to 3.4 meters in the Long Point area. The forecasted lake surge and wave heights are larger in magnitude to what occurred during this past Sunday’s event. Water levels are expected to peak between 10:00 PM Thursday evening and 2:00 AM Friday morning.

Flooding can be expected in low lying areas along the Lake Erie shoreline if this level is reached.

Haldimand County Emergency Services will be closely monitoring conditions and roads along the lakeshore and implement closures as necessary. Access to the Port Maitland Pier has been closed off and the public is urged to stay away from this area due to expected high winds and waves.

Members of the public are urged to stay away from all shoreline areas experiencing strong wave action and elevated water levels. Residents are also advised to contact their insurance company regarding flood insurance if they do not already have it.

This Flood Watch is in effect until noon on Friday, November 1, 2019.

Enbridge Gas Inc. helps Haldimand County Fire Department Reduce Fire and Carbon Monoxide Deaths through Project Zero

Today, Enbridge Gas Inc. and Haldimand County Fire Department announced they are working to improve home safety and bring fire and carbon monoxide-related deaths down to zero.

Haldimand County Fire Department received 156 combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms through Project Zero, – a public education campaign that will provide more than 9,100 alarms to residents in 40 municipalities across Ontario.

This year, Enbridge Gas Inc. invested $275,000 in Project Zero, and over the past 11 years, the program has provided more than 44,356 alarms to Ontario fire departments.

When properly installed and maintained, combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms help provide the early warning to safely escape from a house fire or carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide is a toxic, odourless gas that is a by-product of incomplete combustion of many types of common fuels.

“Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’ for a reason, and we have proof that prevention saves lives. We know that the best way to avoid carbon monoxide exposure is to eliminate it at the source by properly maintaining fuel-burning equipment, and that the alarms are a critical second line of defense to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning,” says Murray Costello, Director, Southwest Region Operations, Enbridge Gas Inc.

“The objective of Project Zero is to deliver combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to Ontario communities who need them the most,” said Jon Pegg, Ontario Fire Marshal and Chief, Emergency Management. “It’s a program that municipal fire departments can adopt to help educate their communities about the requirement for all Ontario homes to have a CO alarm if they have a fuel burning appliance or an attached garage.”

“We are extremely grateful for Enbridge Gas Inc.’s support in promoting the dangers of carbon monoxide and donating 156 alarms. Every year when we conduct our door-to-door smoke detector & CO alarm inspection campaign, we encounter residents who cannot replace these critical items due to economic or mobility reasons. Enbridge’s support will enable us to expand our public education/assistance program and offer more alarms to those in need – at no cost,” says Jason Gallagher, Haldimand County Fire Chief & Manager of Emergency Services.

From left to right:

Richard Geerdink, Fire Prevention Officer – Haldimand County
Rodger Hill, Deputy Fire Chief – Haldimand County
Jason Gallagher, Fire Chief / Manager of Emergency Medical Services – Haldimand County
Nick Klip, Operations Manager – Enbridge Gas Inc.
James Schofield, Manager of Stations Measurement Corrosion – Enbridge Gas Inc., Southeast Region Operations
John Metcalfe, Ward 2 Councillor – Haldimand County

Haldimand County Emergency Services Issues Important Safety Reminder For Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month (November)

Haldimand County Emergency Services has issued some important safety reminders for residents ahead of Carbon Monoxide Awareness month. Carbon Monoxide is known as the silent killer because it is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas.

November was declared Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month in 2013 following the passing of the Hawkins Gignac Act. The Hawkins Gignac Act is named in honour of the Hawkins family — Laurie, Richard, and their children, Cassandra and Jordan — who were tragically killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in their Woodstock home. The tragic outcome of carbon monoxide poisoning was felt locally – in Cayuga – after 12 year old Nolan Young passed away due to CO poisoning. Since his death, the Young family has tirelessly worked to spread awareness of this silent killer.

“Carbon monoxide is a real risk because you can’t see it or smell it or taste it. The only way to mitigate tragedy and protect your family is to have functioning carbon monoxide alarms in your household,” said Richard Geerdink, Fire Prevention Officer for Haldimand County. “If your home uses fuel-burning appliances like natural gas, propane, wood or oil, you need to have a carbon monoxide alarm outside of all sleeping areas and it’s recommended to have a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home,” he continued.

Residents with attached garages are required to have alarms installed as well. Appliances that are rarely used over the summer months may develop leaks or blockages and cause carbon monoxide to accumulate inside the home. “It’s so important to have appliances and fireplaces inspected by a professional when the colder temperatures begin,” Geerdink stated.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic flu symptoms – headache, feeling nauseous, dizziness and weakness.

Residents who are unsure of where or how to install a carbon monoxide alarm are encouraged to contact Haldimand’s Fire Prevention Bureau for assistance. Residents who are unable to afford a carbon monoxide alarm may also contact the Fire Prevention Bureau as assistance is available.

Record high Great Lakes levels increase flooding risk along shoreline communities

By Scott Robertson, Senior Water Resources Engineer, Grand River Conservation Authority
Published with permission from the Grand River Conservation Authority

The Great Lakes drainage basin covers an area of approximately 766,000 km2, with the freshwater volume stored within the lakes typically quoted as representing about 18 per cent of the world supply and 84 per cent of North America’s supply. Water levels in the Great Lakes are affected by many natural factors, the primary ones being precipitation, evaporation, runoff, groundwater, ice, aquatic growth, meteorological disturbances and tides. A very small measure of human control exists throughout the Great Lakes system through various locks, canals, and dams, with operational considerations involving aspects such as mitigation of flooding, marine transportation and hydroelectric power generation. None of these controls has more than a negligible impact on Lake Erie water levels.

To some extent, lake levels are somewhat predictable and fluctuate on a range of time scales, from multi-year and seasonal at a lake-wide scale, down to hours, minutes, and even seconds at a local scale. A summary of current basin-wide conditions includes:

  • Lake Superior exceeded its seasonal record levels for May and remained above record for 4 months, before dipping to just below record to start September.
  • The Lake Huron-Michigan system, which effectively “shares” a water level, approached record levels in early summer, but has since receded slightly, entering September only 8 cm below its record for the date, as set in 1986.
  • Lake Erie surpassed both seasonal and historically-recorded levels, previously set in the mid-1980s and late 1990s, in early May. Levels have remained well above both seasonal and historically-recorded highs through the entirety of the summer to the present. As of September 19, they remained 8 cm above the previous record-high for the date, set in 1986, but are slowly declining.
  • On the heels of record-breaking flood levels in 2017, Lake Ontario exceeded even those heights in early June and remained at record-breaking levels through the first week of August.
  • More information about the Great Lakes, characteristics and conditions is available on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website at https://waterlevels.gc.ca.

Lake Erie Conditions

So, what does all this mean for Lake Erie and the Grand River shoreline communities of Dunnville and Port Maitland? High levels create conditions ripe for flooding and erosion, potentially altering the shoreline, damaging property or municipal infrastructure, and even potentially injury or loss of life.

While the record-high day-to-day levels resulted in some minor nuisance flooding in very low-lying areas at its peak in May and June, the more significant concern on Lake Erie relates to wind-driven storm surge weather events. Of all the Great Lakes, the shallow character of Erie leaves it particularly susceptible to such conditions.

Winds of sufficient speed and duration are able to “push” water from the west end of the lake to the east end, temporarily raising levels at Dunnville and Port Maitland by up to two metres for hours at a time, before relenting and allowing the water to slosh back to the west end of the lake, like in a bathtub. On top of these storm surges, isolated waves of up to another two metres could also occur, with increased likelihood during such wind events.

The lowest level of flooding starts to occur at Port Maitland at a lake elevation of approximately 175.5 m, with the highest instantaneous level ever recorded at 176.62 m (December 2, 1985). As of September 12, 2019, the stable lake level is 174.88 m, meaning that it would only require a relatively moderate storm surge wind event to initiate low-level flooding along some coastal areas. A significant event could result in near record or even record flooding.

On the plus side, levels are continuing to recede at approximately seasonal rate, but on the negative side, the types of weather events that create storm surges as described above occur primarily in the fall and winter seasons. There remains a lot of water flushing through the upper Great Lakes system draining into Lake Erie, which means that levels, through dropping nicely, will likely remain unseasonably high throughout this crucial period, resulting in a higher potential for lakeshore flooding and erosion along the Lake Erie shoreline. A Lake Erie Conditions Statement – High Lake Level Outlook has been in place since October 2018, and is expected to remain in place for the coming months.

Much will depend on how dry the next couple months are, how much the lake levels can continue to drop, and how kind Mother Nature decides to be with respect to westerly or south-westerly winds.

Find out how to prepare for floods via the Haldimand County Emergency Services and GRCA websites.

Second Public Education Meeting Set For Lake Erie Shoreline Hazard Mapping And Risk Assessment Study

In 2018, Haldimand County, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), Long Point Region Conservation Authority (LPRCA) and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) initiated a study to update the Lake Erie shoreline flood, erosion and dynamic beach hazard mapping.

The majority of the work to update the hazard mapping to current mapping and technical standards is now complete. The second of two Public Education Centres (PEC) is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 21, 2019 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Selkirk Centennial Community Centre (34 Main Street West, Selkirk). The first PEC took place in September 2018.

The PEC will follow an open house format. There will be no formal presentations; however, the session will provide an opportunity for landowners and members of the public to learn about the findings of the study, as well as contribute their knowledge of local conditions. County and Conservation Authority staff will be available to answer questions and all members of the public interested in the project are welcome to attend.

This is a technical study to update hazard mapping. Updates to conservation authority shoreline management plans or policies, Haldimand County’s Emergency Response Plan and Official Plan are outside the scope of this project.

The PECs for this project will meet the requirements for public consultation for any resulting amendments to regulated area mapping of Ontario Regulations 150/06, 155/06 and 178/06 made under the Conservation Authorities Act.

Consistent hazard mapping across conservation authority jurisdictions is required to support land use planning and permitting decisions in at-risk communities and flood and erosion-related response and mitigation planning. Current shoreline hazard mapping for the County within LPRCA and GRCA jurisdictions was prepared in the late 1980s – early 1990s, while the mapping within the NPCA jurisdiction was updated in 2010.

The project will also update municipal risk assessment information for shoreline flooding, including inventorying at-risk infrastructure and estimating damage potential. It is anticipated the project will be completed by early 2020.

Haldimand County Fire Department Reminding Residents Of Open Air Fire Burning By-Law

With the return of warm weather there has been an increase in the number of recreational and non-recreational fires in Haldimand County. The Haldimand County Fire Department is reminding residents of the Open Air Burn By-law and asking for everyone’s cooperation to ensure that outdoor fires are safe and controlled. During this hot & humid weather, any burning should be limited to recreational fires.

Recreational fires are allowed in all areas without a permit as long as the fire meets all of the regulations set out in the Open Air Burn By-law. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring the fire is contained and supervised at all times and that it is set back at least 10 meters from combustible buildings/structures. A means of extinguishing the fire must be available and measures must be in place to ensure that no one is adversely affected by the products of combustion (smoke and odours).

Non-recreational fires are only permitted in certain areas of the County and require a burn permit that can be purchased at all County offices. Non-recreational fires must meet all of the regulations set out in the by-law. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring fires are supervised at all times and contained to an area not exceeding 6 meters by 6 meters. Non-recreational fires must also be set back at least 60 meters from all buildings, roadways and anything combustible.

Open air fires that are not conducted according to the by-law present potential safety hazards. Anyone conducting an open air fire that violates the by-law are subject to fines, provincial prosecution and recovery of costs required to respond to and/or extinguish the fire.

Haldimand County Firefighters Conducting Annual Household Smoke Detector, Carbon Monoxide Alarm Inspection Program

Over the next few months, Haldimand County’s volunteer firefighters will be out in the community conducting carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm checks. The annual program aims to educate residents about the importance of having working alarms and provide assistance with installation and/or battery replacement.

The annual inspections are one of many public education initiatives in the County’s Fire Prevention program, which is mandatory under the Province’s Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997. In 2018, the Fire Department inspected 542 homes and installed 42 smoke alarms, 58 carbon monoxide detectors and 24 batteries.

“People are very receptive to us coming to their door,” said Jason Gallagher, Haldimand County’s Manager of Emergency Services & Fire Chief. “Some of them are actually surprised when we tell them their equipment needs to be updated. It’s just not top-of-mind, and it really has to be,” he continued.

As per the Ontario Building Code, smoke alarms must be installed be on every floor of a dwelling and outside all sleeping areas within a home. CO detectors need to be adjacent to sleeping areas as well as fuel burning appliances in the home or an attached garage.

Gallagher noted that while many households pass the inspection, firefighters always come upon cases where alarms are completely absent or installed but have either dead batteries or none at all. “It’s important to note that residents won’t be penalized or fined if, during a check, firefighters discover that they don’t have working alarms. We’ll simply provide an alarm or batteries and help get them installed,” Gallagher continued.

Simple smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector tips:

– Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of your home. For added protection, install a smoke alarm in every bedroom according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms.

– Install carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage. For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of your home according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

– Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pressing the test button. Change the batteries every year.

– Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors wear out over time. Replace these according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Residents with questions about fire prevention are encouraged to make use of the resources available on the County website or contact the County’s Fire Prevention Bureau at 905-318-5932.

Haldimand County Emergency Services Issues Emergency Preparedness Week Reminder, Invites Residents To Open House

Ahead of Emergency Preparedness Week (May 5-11, 2019), Haldimand County Emergency Services is urging residents to be emergency ready by learning more about area risks, creating a plan and assembling an emergency preparedness kit. On May 10 from 2-4pm, residents are invited to drop by Emergency Services headquarters in Cayuga to chat with staff, ask questions and get emergency planning tips.

Emergency Preparedness Week (EP Week) is an annual, nationwide event that encourages Canadians to be proactive in planning for potential emergencies. “Emergencies or disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. Being prepared is critical since it can take time for help to arrive,” said Don Otterman, Deputy Chief, Paramedic Services. “Every resident should have a plan and an emergency preparedness kit ready to take care of themselves and their family for at least 72 hours,” he added. Kits should include a variety of items including: a flashlight, batteries, non-perishable food, water, a sewing kit, copies of important IDs (e.g: birth certificates), towels, rope and garbage bags among other necessities.

Haldimand County has an incredibly detailed Emergency Plan that is ready to be activated in the case of a disaster or emergency situation. “Emergency planning is a continuous activity for Haldimand County. Every year, staff participate in emergency simulation exercises that get staff thinking on their feet and practicing the duties they’d be required to carry out in the event of an actual disaster,” Otterman explained. “It’s not just first responders that participate, either – management and certain administrative staff have key roles to play in an emergency response, from implementing road closures to setting up evacuation centers and communicating information,” he added.

Otterman emphasized the importance of including children in emergency readiness discussions and planning, so they know what to expect should a dire situation arise. Every family member should have a role and know what to do. Parents are encouraged to utilize Haldimand County’s activity books to educate their children on what to do and how to stay calm in case of an emergency. Family pets should also be considered when making preparations.

Staying connected and informed is another important part of emergency preparedness. Knowing where to look for information and updates throughout an emergency situation is critically important. In addition to local radio – specifically 92.9 The Grand FM, the County’s emergency broadcast partner – residents should monitor local news (CHCH TV), the County website and its social media accounts (Facebook & Twitter). “In an evacuation scenario, residents may not have access to TV or radio. Under these circumstances, our website and social media accounts serve as critical communication channels,” Otterman noted.

Emergency preparedness resources are available on the Haldimand County website and GetPrepared.gc.ca. Anyone with questions related to emergency preparedness may also call
Haldimand County Emergency Services at 905-318-5932.