Samaritan's Purse is bringing hope and help to flooded communities in Central and Eastern Canada.
Multidisciplinary teams will assess whether residents can return
Seven health and safety inspection teams have been deployed to flood-affected areas across New Brunswick as water levels along the St. John River continue to recede.
The multidisciplinary teams were dispatched Monday to homes and businesses damaged by the flood to see if it’s safe for residents or owners to return. The service is free of charge.
Geoffrey Downey, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, asked for patience as the teams make the rounds, beginning in locations where floodwaters have retreated.
“Make sure your house is safe to get into first,” Downey said.
Only two communities along the St. John River — Jemseg and Sheffield-Lakeville Corner — are projected to be above flood stage Tuesday morning, according to the provincial five-day forecast.
The teams consist of fire inspectors, health inspectors and environment inspectors as well as electrical and structural professionals.
“They are looking for all kinds of things,” Downey said.
“The electrical team, for example, is checking out, say, your hot water heater if it was flooded making sure it’s safe. Maybe an electrical panel. The fire inspector goes in first. They do a CO2 check to make sure there’s no dangerous gases in your home.”
Teams are assessing buildings in the Maugerville, Hampton, Quispamsis, Rothesay, and Kingston area. One stopped by Earl Leblanc’s mobile home in Maugerville on Monday.
‘I’m a survivor’
It’s the second year in a row Leblanc’s home was assessed by an inspection team, but he’s not upset about it. He’s happy they told him his floor was fine and he’d have to replace all the electrical outlets — for the second consecutive year.
Pools of water still sit in front and back yards and he’s yet to return home from a three-week hotel stay, but his disposition remains cheery.
“It’s a little square room with a bed, but they provide you with a room and food so you can’t go wrong,” he said, adding he hopes to return this week after getting the OK from inspectors.
“I’m a survivor,” Leblanc exclaimed.
The Red Cross reported 601 households (1,425 people) have registered with the organization, and 103 households (318 people) are still being sheltered.
Leblanc received some help from Samaritan’s Purse, a disaster relief organization that is offering aid to New Brunswick flood victims. One of the crews gathered about 50 bags of soaked insulation from underneath the mobile home.
The team used the inspection report to help guide their cleanup.
“And we also have a team that assesses homes,” said volunteer Caleb Moore. “So, they have some knowledge with these homes and with the flood relief and what we need to do in terms of repairs and what we need to tear out and leave and things like that.”