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Montreal firefighters go door to door advising West Island residents about flood preparedness

Montreal firefighters toured Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Wednesday, handing out information about flood preparedness and checking fire alarms.

Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue gets early jump on flood season, handing out sandbags as precaution

Montreal firefighters dropped by homes in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Wednesday, distributing information about how to prepare for spring flooding. (CBC)

Montreal firefighters toured Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Wednesday, handing out information about flood preparedness and checking fire alarms.

"We are knocking on doors, talking with the citizens in order to get them ready for floods," said Jean-François Larente, fire prevention chief for Montreal's West Island.

"We never know what Mother Nature is going to give us."

The municipality on the island's western tip is trying to get a head start on flood prevention and emergency management, after last spring's floods destroyed homes and left families in the lurch.

The bilingual pamphlets offer tips for residents who want to be ready for potential spring flooding. (CBC)

The bilingual information cards handed out to citizens Wednesday include links to online government resources on how to establish a family safety plan and prepare a 72-hour emergency kit.

The kit includes:

  • Water — two litres of water per person per day.
  • Food that won't spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Wind-up or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries).
  • Wind-up or battery-powered radio (and extra batteries).
  • First aid kit.
  • Extra keys for your car and house.
  • Cash, travellers' cheques and change.
  • Important family documents such as identification, insurance and bank records.
  • Emergency plan — include a copy in your kit, as well as contact information.

Sandbags handed out

Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa told CBC News the town is also taking steps to prepare for flooding.

"We're already ready," she said. "We've already distributed two pallets of sandbags to homes at risk of being flooded."

The farmers market in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue had to be closed in early April, 2017, because of the high risk of flooding. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

In addition, the town has opened a 24/7 emergency phone line that will be staffed now until the end of May and has drafted a volunteer list.

Hawa said the town is taking into account lessons learned last year, advising people not to put sandbags around their lawns or driveways but right up against the walls of their homes.

"Let the water go onto your lawn," she said. "It will absorb the water, and you'll have less water attacking your walls."

With files from Simon Nakonechny