Tips from Toronto's fire chief on how to prepare for potential flooding

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg spoke to CBC Toronto about how his emergency crews are gearing up for the next 48 hours and what residents can do to make sure they stay safe while preventing damage to their homes.

Be prepared for delays in your commute, fire chief says

Be vigilant, keep an eye on water levels and be prepared for delays in your morning commute, says Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg. (CBC News/ Grant Linton)

Between 40 and 90 millimetres of rain could fall on Toronto between Thursday evening and Saturday. With the ground already saturated and lake levels high, the city of Toronto and all emergency services are on high alert. 

According to the city of Toronto's website, "all parts of Toronto can be affected by flooding and there may be little or no advance warning that localized flooding is imminent." 

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg spoke to CBC Toronto about how his emergency crews are gearing up for the next 48 hours and what residents can do to make sure they stay safe prevent damage to their homes. 

Be prepared for delays in your commute

Pegg said commuters should remain vigilant and be aware that due to rising water levels, road closures may occur and affect the morning and evening commute. 

Water was already starting to flow into the Lower Simcoe underpass on Thursday afternoon. City officials are warning it may flood if the city does get hit with a major downpour in the next couple of days. (John Rieti/CBC)

The city says flooding is most likely to occur in areas that have flooded in the past, such as Don River Valley, the eastern and western beaches, the Toronto Islands and areas along the lakeshore. 

"Quite likely, we are going to see the Don Valley Parkway and Bayview Road area be impacted," Pegg said. "I would encourage people now to start thinking about potential impacts to their commute."

Public transit, including TTC and GO Transit, will likely be impacted. The Toronto Police Service as well as Toronto Fire will be monitoring any road closures and significant delays.

How to protect your home

Pegg shared some tips on how residents can prevent damage to their homes from floodwaters.

  • Make sure your eavestroughs are clear and flowing and that downspouts are in place.
  • Close all doors and windows.
  • If your home has a sump pump, make sure it is operational and working.
  • If you have a storm sewer near your home, make sure the sewer grate is clear and not obstructed with debris.

Residents should remain vigilant 

  • Be aware of groundwater levels.
  • Stay away from moving water, which can be hazardous especially for small children and pets.
  • Make arrangements for transportation or fuel in your car in case you need to leave your home.
  • Know where any critical things you may need are, such as medication.

Residents can call 311 for any general inquires they have about flooding. The city of Toronto website also has resources about floodwater protection. 

In case of any hazardous circumstances or a safety risk, residents can call 911 to reach emergency crews. 

"Everything we can do proactively is done; the planning has been put in place and our team will monitor the situation 24/7 until the risk is subsided," Pegg said.