We may not normally see our neighbours as heroes until tragic events thrust them into a different light.
Such is the case for Goderich Chief Building Official Jim Spence, subject of a recent trade magazine article, Weathering the Storm, for his role in dealing with last August's F3 tornado.
Jim knew he'd be having a lot of paper cross his desk the minute he extricated spouse Joyce and himself from the collapsed ruins of their home.
Building Inspectors from throughout the area pitched in to assess 300 buildings damaged in the twister.
The team had to cope with rubble from the storm, and restrictions from the Ministry of Labour in first liaising with officials and landowners on issues of demolition -- then coping with the flood of permit applications that followed.
Spence has five recommendations flowing from the experience.
The Chief Building Official maintains a smart phone is essential when you can't get to the office.
Spence thinks officials should be suited with a breathing mask of their own.
He believes the municipality should have an Air Quality Consultant on its stand-by list.
Spence maintains a mutual aid plan with other municipalities' departments is a must.
He thinks each building department should have its own internal chain of command for disaster situations.
The article, written by neighbouring Huron Kinloss CBO Matt Farrell, makes one further recommendation that all building inspectors take a refresher course in Heritage construction.
Farrell argues that inspectors are the front line of defence in making sure things are done properly.