Giffin Koerth Provides In-Depth Expertise for Fort McMurray Relief Efforts

Since the forest fires in Northern Alberta first took hold, the experts and support team at Giffin Koerth have been preparing to help their clients serve the families and businesses affected by the fires, allowing them to eventually ‘get back on their feet.’

Giffin Koerth experts are in communication with first responders, insurance companies, and adjusting companies in Alberta to understand the nature of the challenges and provide preliminary support and technical expertise. From early reports, the common observations noted to date include the following:

  • Structural impacts to much of the Fort McMurray area are binary in nature; structures have either been completely destroyed or remain completely intact. Luckily for the Fort McMurray area, many structures have been saved through heroic fire suppression activities.
  • Facilities that have been spared direct fire damage might have been exposed to intense heat, smoke, soot and fine particulate, as well as water from fire suppression efforts, all of which could have resulted in secondary impacts requiring further assessment.
  • The facilities that have been damaged or destroyed by the forest fires may create secondary risks during clean-up and remediation; specifically risks associated with hazards such as asbestos, residual ash, and in-soil leachate of other by-products of high-temperature fires (e.g., heavy metals)

Giffin Koerth experts are equipped to provide assistance with these issues and can suggest areas to be wary of, in terms of the less obvious, though potentially hazardous, long-term issues, as follows:

Heat-sensitive electrical hardware, including:

  • Cable insulation
  • Bus duct insulation
  • Switchgear and protection
  • Motors
  • Variable speed drives
  • Air conditioning and control units
  • Fire protection schemes
  • 600V supplies, high-voltage supplies
  • 220V and 110V supplies

Common environmental impacts after forest fires, including:

  • Smoke and soot impacts on otherwise clean structures
  • Asbestos-containing materials in debris/rubble
  • Contamination of soil, sediment, surface water, and groundwater

If you have any questions, or if you are interested in learning more about how Giffin Koerth is contributing to the Fort McMurray relief efforts, please contact Jeff Reitsma at 647-738-5725 or jreitsma@giffinkoerth.com.

Photo Credit: Greg Halinda, The Canadian Press, 2016

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