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Tiger Dam maker gets certified

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Paul Vickers of U.S. Flood Control Corp. beside a Super Tiger Dam in downtown Winnipeg on Tuesday.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Paul Vickers of U.S. Flood Control Corp. beside a Super Tiger Dam in downtown Winnipeg on Tuesday. Photo Store

TIGER DAM flood containment tubing is in use around the world, but they were effectively pioneered in Manitoba, where there is some pride in resident flood-fighting skills.

So it was fitting the Calgary-based company that makes the orange-coloured tubing systems announced it had achieved an important quality certification in Winnipeg.

The company, called U.S. Flood Control Corp., received the highest level of certification from the Association of State Floodplain Managers and FM Approvals, a division of FM Global (formerly Factory Mutuals), a global property and casualty insurance company.

The certification now makes Tiger Dam the temporary flood remediation product many government jurisdictions and Fortune 1000 companies must use in order to maintain proper insurance coverage.

The announcement took place at the Pony Corral Restaurant in downtown Winnipeg. The Pony Corral is owned by Peter Ginakes, who owns the rights to sell the Tiger Dam equipment in Manitoba.

A group of Manitoba officials who have experience with the Tiger Dam were on hand to endorse the product, including Steve Ashton, provincial minister in charge of Emergency Measures, as well as two former managers of the provincial Emergency Measures Organization, two reeves and Chief Glenn Hudson of Peguis First Nation, who was referred to as the most proactive chief in the country when it comes to flood remediation.

Ashton said of the tubing, "I felt it was important to be here to validate what we have seen. We first tested them in 2005. Then 2009 was the first major deployment, and then in 2011 they were invaluable."

He said in the 2009 flood it was clear a key challenge the province was facing was the fact normal mitigation just didn't cover what they were up against.

"We were able to get them out quickly," he said. "Our primary rapid flood response is now the Tiger Dams. The reality for us is we did our own internal analysis, but this (certification) is significant."

The province of Manitoba is one of the biggest customers of the Tiger Dam, having purchased 61 kilometres of the tubing at a cost of about $6 million.

The tubes come in various diameters, the largest being six metres. Smaller diameter versions can be stacked about nine metres high. They can be strapped together and anchored to the ground. They are designed with convenient air release valves at both ends.

Paul Vickers, the Calgary entrepreneur who is president of the company, said the certification process -- designed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers -- was an arduous process other competitors failed.

"They decided they had to sit in the water for two weeks -- not a day, a week or some other number -- and they have to sustain wave action, strong currents, all the things that could happen sitting in water for two weeks."

Ashton said one the most effective elements of the technology is the fact they can be rapidly deployed. Part of that is a result of specially designed trailers that hold two kilometres of tubing as well as pumps and other materials necessary to install the Tiger Dam.

Those trailers are designed and built by Connection Industries on Oak Point Highway.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2013 B4

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