British Columbia·In Depth

How to prepare for a flood

Easy tips on preparing for a flood, securing your home and what to do in case of an evacuation order.

Before a flood

  • Know if you live in a flood-risk area.
  • Prepare emergency kits for your home and car.
  • Have an emergency plan that every household member knows.
  • Keep important documents in watertight containers.
  • Ensure your car has a full tank of gas.
  • Have a plan in place in case you need to move pets and livestock.
  • Watch for warning signs: increase in height and intensity of water flows, mudslides, debris in creeks, colour changes in water or leaning trees.


Flood-proof your home

  • Build sandbag dikes — dig a trench one sack deep and two sacks wide, laying sacs in alternating crisscross directions.
  • Move appliances above anticipated flood level.
  • Secure and anchor propane tanks.
  • Stabilize your oil tank and weigh it down with sandbags.
  • Turn off utilities at main switches or valves and unplug electrical items.
  • Shut off the gas valve at the meter.
  • Move pesticides, weed killers, fertilizers and anything else that may contaminate water to a higher level.
  • Plug all basement sewer connections; plug toilet, sink and shower drains.


When leaving your home

  • Make sure everyone has warm clothing and waterproof outerwear, including footwear.
  • Make sure everyone has ID, and store personal documents in plastic.
  • Take a supply of any medications needed.
  • Bring items needed to care for infants — diapers, bottles food.
  • Take a battery-powered radio and flashlight.
  • Check road conditions before leaving and take extra care when driving.
  • Do not walk through moving water — even moving water less than 15 centimetres deep can make you fall.
  • Secure your home, ensuring all doors and windows are locked.

Source: Emergency Management B.C.