Being prepared for a possible flood emergency is important

Taking steps now to prepare for a possible flood means your home or business will be better equipped against possible damage.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood.  It is important to regularly listen to radio or television or check the Web for the latest information related to flooding or potential flooding in your community.

  • To prepare for a flood, you should:

    • Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
    • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
    • Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
    • Construct barriers (floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering your home or building.
    • Seal walls in basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
    • Prepare a grab and go emergency kit, in case an evacuation is required.
    • Plan and practice an evacuation route, including arrangements for pets.
    • Teach family members how and when to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
    • Teach young children how and when to call 9-1-1.
    • Ask your insurance agent about insurance options.
  • During a flood watch, you should:

    • Keep radio tuned to a local station.
    • Gather a supply of clean drinking water.
    • If the danger is immediate, shut off all power in your home.
    • Take precautions to safeguard or minimize damage to electrical, natural gas or propane heating equipment. Consult your supplier for instructions.
    • Move electrical appliance and other belongings to floors above flood level.
    • Remove toxic substances (pesticides, oils, etc) to prevent harming the environment.
    • Remove toilets on basement levels. Plug the sewer connections and floor drains.
    • Avoid walking through any flood waters.
    • If in a car, turn around and go another way; if your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

    If advised to evacuate, do so immediately to avoid flooded roads, be sure to follow recommended evacuation routes and listen to radio for evacuation instructions. 

  • Restoring your home:

    • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
    • Listen to news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
    • If you see a fallen or broken power line, stay at least 10 metres or a bus-length away (33 feet). Then, call 9-1-1 and ensure no other bystanders move to within 10 metres of the line.
    • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
    • Watch for loose plaster and ceilings that could fall.
    • Throw away all food that has come in contact with flood waters.
    • Pump out flooded basements gradually (approximately 1/3 amount of water per day) to avoid structural damage.
    • Service damaged septic tanks and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems can cause health hazards.

    Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.