Flood safety tips

Tips from the government of Canada on protection and preparation

Tips from the government of Canada on protection and preparation

A home is threatened by flooding from melt water in south Winnipeg in March 2009. Officials recommend homeowners seal basement windows and ground-level doors and install a zero reverse flow valve in basement drains to limit any potential flood damage. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

CBC News has compiled a list of safety tips from the government's  Get Prepared website  to help you prepare for and stay safe during a flood.

Flood safety tips

  • Preparation · Seal your basement windows and ground-level doors. · Install a zero reverse flow valve in basement drains. · Keep important documents on higher floors to protect from flood damage.
  • Anticipation · Turn basement furnaces and gas valve off. · Safeguard heating equipment. · Move furniture and electrical appliances above ground level. · Get toxic substances away from flood area to prevent pollution. · Plug toilet connections with a wooden stopper.
  • During · Stay aware of what roads are safe, where to go and what to do if the local emergency team asks you to evacuate.
  • After · Don't return home until authorities have advised that it is safe to do so. · Have an electrician clean, dry and test the main electrical panel. · Make sure the building is structurally safe. · Look for buckled walls or floors. · Minimize contact with floodwater. · Keep children away from contaminated areas while cleaning.

Get recommends having an emergency kit that includes:

  • Water - two litres of water per person per day (Include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order)
  • Food - that won't spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (remember to replace the food and water once a year)
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Battery-powered or wind-up radio (and extra batteries)
  • First aid kit
  • Special needs items - prescription medications, infant formula or equipment for people with disabilities
  • Extra keys - for your car and house
  • Cash - include smaller bills, such as $10 bills (traveller's cheques are also useful) and change for payphones

Evacuation tips:

  • You should drive with extreme care if you're using your car. Ensure there's enough gasoline in the tank. If the car stalls, abandon it. Many people have died after being caught by rising flood waters while attempting to move a stalled vehicle.
  • Electricity and gas valves should be shut off before you evacuate.
  • Do you have a family rendezvous point? It's a good idea to pre-arrange a meeting place to ensure no one is lost or to establish some system of communication in case of separation.
  • Avoid walking through moving flood waters. Depth can be deceptive, and even shallow water rushing fast enough can sweep you off your feet

Source: Environment Canada

Preparing your home:

  • Install backflow valves on toilets and drains to prevent sewage from backing up.
  • Have a licensed electrician elevate electrical components such as circuit breakers and fuse boxes at least 12 inches (30.5 cm) above your home's projected flood elevation.
  • Sanitize sinks and tubs, then fill them with clean tap water in case water becomes contaminated.
  • Bring outdoor garden equipment and lawn furniture inside or tie it securely down.
  • Ensure there's proper drainage around your home. You may want to consider adding top soil with a minimum gradient of five degrees away from your home.
  • Trimming dead or rotting branches or cutting down dead trees on your property can reduce the danger from falling limbs.

Source: Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Canada