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211 Northern Region Thunder Bay Flood - May 28th, 2012 Post Disaster Response Brief As prepared by: Lakehead Social Planning Council

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Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief

TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE STORM ..........................................................................................................................3 DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY ........................................................................................3 THE DAMAGE........................................................................................................................4 WHAT IS 211? .......................................................................................................................5 THE ROLE OF 211.................................................................................................................6 THE ROLE OF 211 DURING THE THUNDER BAY FLOOD ..................................................6 INFORMATION & REFERRAL ...............................................................................................7 REASON FOR INQUIRIES.....................................................................................................10 DISASTER DATABASE..........................................................................................................11

Š 2013 Community Information & Referral Centre, Thunder Bay. All rights reserved. Information in this report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any manner whatsoever without prior permission from Community Information & Referral Centre, Thunder Bay. The pictures in the following report were collected from various sources and are not the property of the Community Information & Referral Centre, Thunder Bay. Community Information & Referral Centre c/o Lakehead Social Planning Council 125 Syndicate Avenue South, Victoriaville Centre Thunder Bay, ON P7E 6H8 Ph: 807-624-1720 Toll Free Ph: 1-877-586-5638 Fax: 807-625-9427 TTY: 807-622-4651 Toll Free TTY: 1-888-622-4651

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Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief THE STORM Below is Environment Canada’s detailed description of the weather report before and on May 28th, 2012. In the days before the flooding occurred, Thunder Bay had received a number of days of noteworthy rainfall, culminating in approximately 40 millimetres falling on May 25. This rainfall left the area fairly soggy and sensitive to any additional rainfall amounts. During the late evening hours of May 27 and the early morning hours of the next day, a low-pressure system moved into North Dakota, with a warm front extending out from the low up to south of Thunder Bay. The air mass over Thunder Bay was very moist and unstable, and the warm front acted as a focus of thunderstorm development during this time. A series of heavy thunderstorms formed and re-formed over the Thunder Bay area between roughly midnight and 4 a.m. on May 28. Environment Canada rain gauges recorded between 91 and 97 millimetres of rain with these storms, and a Lakehead Region Conservation Authority rain gauge reported an amount exceeding 105 millimetres. (Ontario Weather Review, News Release. Environment Canada, 2012)¹

DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY Early on Monday, May 28th, the City of Thunder Bay, and surrounding Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge and Township of Conmee issued a declaration of emergency due to the excessive amount of rain that fell resulting in severe damage.

¹Ontario Weather Review, News Release Environment Canada. (2012). Severe weather. Retrieved from http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp? lang=En&n=714D9AAE-1&news=410F0007-1E78-4301-9393-7FBD45B8C9BC

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Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief THE DAMAGE The large amount of rain that fell during a very short period of time resulted in multiple road washouts and closures, excessive water in basements, as well as significant flooding of the Atlantic Avenue Secondary Sewage Treatment Plant in Thunder Bay. As a result of the flooding at the Treatment Plant, sewage began backing up into homes. Many residents woke up to basements flooding with either rain water, sewage or both. In some areas of town, residents reported several feet of water and/or sewage in their basements.

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Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief

WHAT IS 211?

Telephone • • • •

24/7 helpline and TTY service answered live by Information & Referral Specialists Reliable referrals to community supports and services Confidential, anonymous and multilingual Advocacy and follow-up when required

Web Portal • A single, comprehensive database of community, social, health and government

organizations for Northern Ontario (211north.ca) • Email communication or live chat with Information & Referral Specialists • Available to the public and highly used by service providers

Community Impact • A single, cost-effective information and referral system for Northern Ontario • An evaluation plan monitored to ensure established standards and best practices are

met • Equitable access to the public • Enhanced profile of supports and services available in the broader community

Reports and Measures • Contacts are tracked and aggregate information on user demographics and profiles

are reported (information on the identity of callers is not collected) • Service quality surveys are conducted regularly • Reports identify gaps and trends across Northern Ontario for future planning purposes

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Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief THE ROLE OF 211 The role of 211 services in emergency response and recovery includes communicating critical information to and from the public, assessing caller needs, and connecting people to services. (See graphic below) This includes conveying authoritative information out and relaying information about trends in public needs and vital information from the public to the Emergency Operations Control group through its information officer or his/her team. Other related roles include collecting information about volunteers and gathering details on donations. Work is being done on other service offerings and includes looking at existing capacity and the steps needed to strengthen this.²

THE ROLE OF 211 DURING THE THUNDER BAY FLOOD Early Monday morning, a request for 211’s assistance was made. 211 was messaged as a number to call for updates on services offered, general information regarding the occurrence, as well as for information on all community programs and services. 211 and the Emergency Operations Control Group agreed that 211 was not prepared to manage and coordinate offers of help from volunteers or requests made from those who needed help at this time. That reason, among others, was why the Flood Line was created. The Flood Line, a dedicated 7-digit telephone number (98-FLOOD), provided callers with pre-recorded updates and information related to the flood. On Tuesday June 12th, 211 became an option for callers accessing the Flood Line. When callers selected the 211 option, he/she was directly connected to a 211 Specialist. In response to the damage caused and the high number of people without insurance or with inadequate insurance, the City created the Safe Home program. This program provided help with basement inspections and clean-up, and, when required, offered replacement of damaged hot water tanks and furnaces. 211 became the advertised number to call to access the program. 211 Specialists assessed the calls, collected the required information and reported it to the Safe Home program contact. As the Emergency Operations Control Group shifted into recovery mode, 211 was messaged and publicized as the number to dial for information on the Disaster Relief Fund, the Disaster Relief Committee, as well as for assistance with the claims process. 211 was also publicized as the place to call if help was needed in completing the required paperwork. 6 ² 211 Role in Emergency Response & Recovery Collaborative Project, June 2012 Update


Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief INFORMATION & REFERRAL Between May 28th and June 30th, 2012, 211 Northern Region answered 5,288 calls. Of these calls, 1,011 were related to the flooding.

Total Calls vs Total Flood Calls By Weeks 1800

1524

1500 1055

938

1200

1031 740

900 440

600

188

143

300

114

126

0 1

2

3

Total Calls

4

5

Flood Calls

Total Number of Flood Related Calls 440 450

300

143

188 126

114

150

0 Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

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Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief INFORMATION & REFERRAL (CONT’D) During the first week of the flood, 211 received many types of inquiries. More specifically, on Monday May 28th, 2012, many of the inquiries were from people who were affected by water/ sewage in their basements and did not know what to do or who to call. As a result of conflicting information published in the local newspaper, 211 experienced its highest flood-related call volume the following day. Many of the calls were from people wanting clarification or more information on the Boil Water Daily Flood Related Calls Week One Advisory. (May 28th to June 3, 2012) 200 Also, during the first week, 160 211 handled inquiries from people wanting general 120 information and/or updates 80 on the overall situation, such 40 as road closures, condition of 0 the sewage treatment plant, May May May May June June June City recommendations on 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 water usage, and instructions for those who could no longer stay in their homes. By the third day, requests for basic needs increased significantly. People were in need of shelter, food, clothing and a place to bathe. People also needed cleaning supplies and pumps, and calls came in from those who had pumps to lend. Calls were also for health-related information, how to safely clean and disinfect, effects of mould and what to about mould. As people started to clean up, requests for waste collection and disposal increased.

There were also many requests made by people who wanted to help. Some callers wanted information on where they could volunteer with clean up and others wanted to donate material goods. These callers were wanting to donate clothing, furniture, cleaning supplies, food, baby diapers and formula, and personal hygiene products. Daily Flood Related Calls Week Two (June 4th to June 10th, 2012)

50 40 30 20 10 0 June 4

June 5

June 6

June 7

June 8

June 9

June 10

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Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief INFORMATION & REFERRAL (CONT’D) On June 12th, 2012, 211 was officially invited to act as a resource to the Flood Line. Among other options, callers were provided with the ability to connect with 211 helpline. As a result, call volume increased. At this time, 211 also started to receive calls about the Safe Home Program.

Daily Flood Related Calls Week Three (June 11th to June 17, 2012) 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 June 11

June 12

June 13

June 14

After the Public Meetings, 211 assisted callers with completing the forms for both the Advance Disaster Relief and the detailed Disaster Relief. 211 also handled calls related to the municipal water credit.

June 15

June 16

June 17

Daily Flood Related Calls Week Four (June 18th to June 24, 2012)

40 30 20 10 0 June 18

June 19

June 20

Daily Flood Related Calls We ek Fiv e (June 25th to June 30, 2012) 50 40 30 20 10 0 June 25

June 26

June 27

In weeks three and four, calls started to come in regarding Disaster Relief. Many callers wanted information on the Public Meetings held on June 23, 2012. A lot of questions were about the application process and where to get the required forms.

June 28

June 29

June 30

June 21

June 22

June 23

June 24

During the five weeks, one of the trends observed was the drop in call volume on the weekends. It is suspected that this can be attributed to the fact that many programs and services are closed on the weekends. 9


Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief

REASON FOR INQUIRIES During the five-week period, 211 handled 1,011 flood related calls which resulted in 1,681 unique questions from callers. The chart below shows the general categories in which the calls were classified and the total number of inquiries. Basic Needs

177

Business Numbers

58

Disaster Relief Fund/Committee

107

Financial Assistance

70

General Information

505

Health Related

82

Rumour Control

328

Safe Home Program

211

Volunteering/Donations

143

DISASTER RESOURCES As an AIRS (Alliance of Information & Referral Systems) accredited agency, 211 North is required to develop and maintain a resource database which contains information about the community resources available during a disaster or emergency. As resources change frequently during a disaster, it became critical that 211 have accurate and up to date information. 211 North created 8 new listings detailing specialized services. Thunder Bay Flood, Disaster Relief Committee Many of the updates provided came directly from the Emergency Operations Control Group. All other information was verified by 211 staff.

Thunder Bay Flood, Food Thunder Bay Flood, Health Thunder Bay Flood, Material Goods Thunder Bay Flood, Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program Thunder Bay Flood, Safe Home Program Thunder Bay Flood, Shelter Thunder Bay Flood, Solid Waste

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Northern Ontario - Post Disaster Response Brief

DISASTER RESOURCES (CONT’D) During the five week period, www.211north.ca had a total of 10,623 unique visitors. Overall, website usage increased by 10% during this event. % of New Visitors www.211north.ca 86%

Of the 10,623 unique visitors approximately 80% were first time visitors.

84% 82% 80% 78% 76% 74% Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

For more information please contact: Marie Klassen, Director of Services Lakehead Social Planning Council 125 Syndicate Ave S, Suite 38, Victoriaville Centre Thunder Bay, ON P7E 6H8 807-624-1721

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211 ontario north 2012 flood report