Researchers want to know if Windsor's flooding victims learned anything

The City of Windsor is partnering with researchers at the University of Waterloo as well as the Red Cross to survey residents here who were affected by flooding last summer and in previous years.

Windsor residents are being asked to take part in a national flood survey

More than 6,000 basements flooded in the City of Windsor during heavy rainfalls on Aug. 29, 2017. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

Windsor's misfortune with widespread flooding in recent years may be useful in protecting people in other communities across Canada from suffering similar damage.

The City of Windsor is partnering with researchers at the University of Waterloo, as well as the Red Cross, to survey residents here who were affected by flooding last summer and in previous years.

The results will help in the development of a national FloodSmart Canada campaign to increase risk awareness and get people to protect themselves.

"If you could go back in time — one year, two years, to two months before your last flood, what do you wish you'd known?" said Shawna Peddle, director of Partners for Action at the University of Waterloo. "That's the question we want to ask people, because if they can tell us that and they've been through it, then we can use that to prepare and protect other people as well."

A view of the flood in the Windsor-area from a drone, flown near Tecumseh's Lacasse Park on Sept. 29, 2016. (Submitted by Lucas Kiewitz)

She added they're also targeting people who helped flood victims and others who affected in others ways — for example, if you missed school or work due to flooding.

"We're trying to target a community that's been through this before and is stronger because of it," explained Peddle.

Two years ago, Partners in Action conducted a nation-wide survey of 2,300 people who live in areas with a high risk of flooding and found 94 per cent of them were unaware of their risks. People were also unaware of what their insurance coverage was.

City hopes to improve sewer plan

The City of Windsor agreed to participate, because it hopes the information helps in the development of its sewer master plan and the update to its climate change adaptation plan.

Flood victims in Windsor, Ont., are pleading for public help after heavy rain battered the region, damaging thousands of homes 2:02

City staff want to know what measures people are taking, from applying to the basement flooding subsidy and downspout disconnection programs, to simple things at home.

"If you have stuff stored in basement, is it in a Rubbermaid container? Especially those documents that you may not want to lose, so by putting it into the Rubbermaid container you know they're protecting from water coming in," said Karina Richters, Windsor's supervisor of environmental, sustainability and climate change.

The survey is expected to take 20 minutes to complete and is open from now until May 15. Researchers are hoping 500 to 1,000 people will fill it out online or over the phone by calling 311.

Flooding in Windsor and Tecumseh, Ont. was called "catastrophic" and "unprecedented" by Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara. (Submitted by Donnie Johnston)