(Updated April 2021)
Welcome to our Ultimate Canadian Flood Safety Guide!
Here, we'll be covering important safety information and best practices for remaining safe in an emergency flooding situation!
Feel free to dig in & jump to whatever topic interests you:
When a flood happens, there are important steps to take to ensure the safety of you and your family. It is crucial that you are prepared, informed, and calm.
Before the Flood
During the Flood
After the Flood
Follow these steps, and you can minimize the impact and maximize your family's safety during a flood situation!
Flood risk comes from a community-specific combination of HAZARD (rainfall, storm surge), EXPOSURE (people and structures in the hazard area), and VULNERABILITY (characteristics of the community that increase sensitivity to damage).
To understand flood risk, a community must look at:
What information and data will a community need?
Understanding exposure & vulnerability
Understanding Flood Plains: What is a flood plain?
As a river or waterway carries water downstream, it also carries dirt, rock, and other organic material. As this material is deposited in slower-moving areas, the waterway can change shape and size. Often rivers have a “meandering” appearance (curvy, like a winding snake) as a result of these deposits over years. These areas are flood plains. They are composed of sediment and debris that have accumulated over hundreds (or thousands) of years. Due to their composition and proximity to water, they are much more likely to flood than other, more stable, areas.
Many governments, with the help of geologists and surveyors, have identified these areas and prohibited or limited where residential homes or businesses can be built in relation to the flood plains.
However, there are often existing buildings in these high-risk flood plains, which can be catastrophic when flood season hits. If you live or own a business in a flood plain, it is important to consider your flood prevention methods, including a sump pump.
Houses and other buildings built on flood plains are more likely to flood, have cracked foundations, or settle over time. Because of the composition of the soil, buildings built on flood plains may be less stable. If you already live or work on a flood plain, pay extra attention to flood warnings, severe weather in the forecast, and any signs your building may be suffering from foundation damage or water seepage.
We can't reduce flood hazard, but we can reduce exposure and vulnerability through adaptation planning.
More tools & resources to help your community understand flood hazards and prepare for flooding can be found at Quik-Response.
Floods happen. It's up to you to protect your home and your family.
Protect Your Home
Protect Your Family
While flooding may seem inevitable in some areas, the damages caused by them are not.
When preparing for a flood, consider using flood mitigation tactics to protect your home and personal property.
These can include turning off basement furnaces and outside gas valves, protecting electrical, natural gas or propane heating equipment and removing toxic substances from the flood area.
Get Prepared highlights more strategies to reduce flood damages such as the following:
Emergency kits are a great investment to help you prepare for any type of flood outcome.
Flood emergency kits typically contain: batteries, a flashlight, first-aid kit, battery-operated radio, food and water.
The water supply should contain about one gallon per person. The food supply should be non-perishable and last for a minimum of three days.
Other flood emergency kits may include additional items such as blankets and hygiene products.
Another way to successfully prepare for flood season is to purchase flood insurance for your home, business building or rented complex:
These preventive measures, individually and collectively, can be beneficial towards minimizing the impact that flood season can have on you and your family.
By anticipating the outcomes this season can bring, you can be better equipped with the tools to overcome all the challenges that come with floods.
Click here for sandbag delivery.
Household water damage – whether caused by flooding, an overflowing bathtub, or a leaky roof, is a headache for homeowners.
Aside from damages to the home itself, water destroys expensive electronics & appliances, your favorite clothing, and pretty much anything else of value inside a home.
Every Canadian homeowner needs to understand the importance of flood preparation and understand the consequences for not doing so.
Check out this infographic showing just how much damage a single inch of floodwater can cause to a normal-sized home.
Most people educate themselves about flooding AFTER experiencing water damages to their home.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
In fact, if you're reading this article, you're already well on the way to understanding the implications of household water damage and the importance of preventing it.
Let's get into it.
Here are 6 things that every Canadian property owner NEEDS to know about household water damage:
1. Floods are the leading cause of Canadian property damage
This comes as no surprise. Flooding is the most costly natural disaster in Canada in terms of property damage and can occur in any region, any city, and at virtually any time of the year.
2. You have a much greater chance of losing your home to a flood than to a fire
Most people are fearful of losing their home to a fire.
Did i leave the oven on?
Did I forget to put out that candle?
We've all been there.
However, you actually have a much better chance of flooding your house than burning it down.
Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by flooding during the course of 30 years, compared to a 10% chance of being damaged by house fire.
3. If left untreated, it takes mold 24-48 hours to germinate and grow
On top of the water damage, mold can quickly grow inside a home. This is not only a health hazard, but also makes the restoration process slower, harder, and costlier.
4. There's very little overland flood insurance available in Canada
Other than a few private insurers in Alberta, overland flooding is not insured in Canada.
This is pretty unbelievable considering floods are by far the most expensive natural disaster for both homeowners and the government.
Worth noting, over 70 per cent of Canadians believe they have overland flood insurance coverage, though in actuality they do not.
As such, if you're a Canadian homeowner, you need to learn how to protect your home from flooding.
5. Water damages caused by flooding are on the rise in Canada
A United Nations report from September 2019 claims that by year 2060, the “once per century” coastal floods in BC and The Maritimes will become annual events.
6. Don't depend solely on flood maps to gauge your property's risk. Your home is always at risk for water damage
Inaccurate flood map info is a big problem for the insurance industry.
Currently, flood mapping exists along 28,000 kilometres of rivers and streams in Canada- a very impressive number.
However, about 50% of the mapping prepared before 1996, under the then auspices of the now-defunct Flood Damage Reduction Program.
There you have it, 6 things every Canadian homeowner needs to know about water damages.
Avoid becoming a statistic and equip your home with sandbags for flood control.
QUIK-RESPONSE ™ Self-Expanding Sandbags
How many sandbags do I need to build a flood barrier?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states how flash floods can
occur in only a matter of hours once a heavy rain begins. Severe or intensive heavy rains can develop and form flash floods in just minutes.
Unfortunately, flash floods are not limited to any specific type of area.
They can happen in neighborhoods, streets and plains. The Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner claims that nearly as many people die from flooding as they do
from hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning combined.
Flash floods are the leading cause of drowning for inland flooding. Roughly half of these casualties are vehicle-related.
Heavy rain or rapid melting of ice over a dry floodplain are just a couple of ways a flash flood can occur.
In Canada, floods are very common and are practically bound to happen. Safety is the utmost importance in these situations.
Identify the types of floods that your house or property is vulnerable to. If you’re
location is susceptible to flash floods, Ready recommends identifying an
evacuation route, shelter plan and flash flood response.
During a flash flood warning, authorities will advise the public to stay put, move to a higher ground or even evacuate.
There are also a number of great online resources at your disposal to stay up-to-date with flood-related news:
When under a flood warning, you never want to go towards a floodplain. Many people think it’s safe to drive through floodwater, when in fact it only takes one tenth of an inch of water for a car to hydroplane.
Walking or swimming into a flood is even worse.
We’ve all seen the news stories with people swimming and tubing in floodwater. Tons of debris, toxic waste and sewage is swept up in floodwater, and exposure to this can be very hazardous.
Instead of going towards the flooded area, turn around and seek higher ground.
In the event that you get caught in a flash flood while in a vehicle, NEVER drive
your car into water.
Even if you think it’s not that deep, do not risk it! If your car starts to lag, abandon it and seek shelter in higher grounds. According to Edison Electric Institute (EEI), about 6 inches of moving water can knock a person down, while 2 feet of water can carry a car away.
Because floods are the most common natural disaster in Canada, it is important to have a plan should a flash flood occur:
The first step is to know if your area is prone to flash floods.
Check out this online database of Canada’s flood maps.
Be sure to pay attention to heavy rain or any other factors that could cause flooding.
Study evacuation routes or shelter nearby your area.
A flood emergency kit is also a good idea to always have on hand. If you do need to evacuate quickly, having a bag with some necessities is always a smart idea. Items like extra battery charges for phones, prescribed medication and other critical equipment are great to stock up the bag with.
Equip yourself with a flood control barrier. Find sandbags for sale in Canada here.
After the flood is over, only return home when authorities say it's okay and still be attentive to news updates.
When cleaning up your home or entering the flood zone, make sure to wear gloves and boots so you won't be cut on any debris.
Also, you must watch out for wet electrical equipment. Electrocution is a huge risk after a flood and touching an electrical wire still active could be fatal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges those affected by
flooding NOT to use flood water to drink, wash dishes, brush teeth, or prepare food
If you are unsure about whether or not food or bottled waters came into contact with flood water, throw them out to be safe! The CDC also suggests that utilizing generators or pressure washers to fix flood damage and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
When returning to your building, remember to clean: walls, hard-surfaced floors and household surfaces with soaps and disinfectants. Anything that cannot be washed or cleaned with bleach solutions should be tossed.
The EEI states how flooding can damage electrical systems and cause power outages in your home or on your property. If you find yourself in this situation, immediately contact your local electrical company and have a licensed electrician inspect your home prior to
getting your power back. Never touch damaged equipment!
Floodwater damages are extremely costly.
Check out this infographic showing just how costly a single inch of floodwater is to a normal sized home.
Planning ahead and purchasing a flood barrier to protect your home is a great way to safeguard your property & personal safety.
Unsure of what flood barrier to use?
We recommend self-expanding sandbags, or any of the barriers on this list: The Best flood Barriers of 2020.
Looking for more ways to protect your property from flooding? Here are 35 ways to protect your home from flooding
As a homeowner, it is normal for you to be protective of your beloved property. Floods are one of the most common natural disasters in Canada and can be very costly for any Canadian that is not properly prepared.
A Flood Emergency Kit is one of the best ways to prepare for Canada’s multiple flood seasons. Flood kits can vary among families and should reflect your family’s lifestyle and needs.
In this article, we’ll show you how to assemble an emergency flood kit that includes all the essential items to keep you and your family safe.
It is important to remember that an emergency kit prepares your family for 2 situations: Staying in your place after a flood or evacuating to a more protected location.
If there are infants in your family, be sure to prepare baby essentials such as baby food and diapers. The same case applies to families with pets: pets food and water should be prepared. Avoid assembling any glass bottle supplies in your kit to prevent any injuries.
To prepare for flooding, these documents that should be stored in a waterproof container:
Other than assembling basic supplies, most people forget that their homes need to be protected from floods as well.
One of the most simple, yet effective ways to prevent flood water damage is to use sandbags since they act as a great barrier for your home, diverting water around rather than going through a building.
While sandbags can be difficult to keep on-hand at your property, self-expanding sandbags are a cost effective & easy to use tool that can be easily stored onsite to protect your home from intrusive flood water.
Store Your Emergency Kit
Your emergency kit can be stored in a backpack, a duffle bag, or even a clean unused trash bag.
Make sure to place them in the most accessible and visible place in your home that you can grab it easily if floods occur.
It is ideal to store food and water in a dry and cool place where sunlight cannot reach.
It would be best if you can check your emergency kit every 6 months to make sure all the items are still in a good condition and not expiring.
The needs of every family are different, and your flood kit should reflect that.
Follow our simple guide to ensure that your family is prepared to deal with emergency flood situations.
For more information on protecting your home from flooding, recommended flood barriers, and information about overland flood insurance, visit our flood blog!
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the spring flooding in 2019 lasted less than 2 months, but resulted in the damage of over 18,000 homes across three provinces.
As a homeowner, going back to your flood-damaged home is a devastating & overwhelming ordeal, but it's a must to begin the repair and restoration process.
It's important to start restoring the house and putting the pieces back together as soon as possible since taking action sooner may help reduce the extent of damage and ease the process of clean-up and repair.
We have some tips that can help you get back on your feet.
Take utmost care of yourself and your family while re- entering and during the clean-up process. Understand that you are not alone through this process and there are a lot of resources that can help.
You may be able to minimize the damage and save some of your personal belongings by deploying Quik-response self-expanding sandbags
You’ve seen mouldy food, but do you know how to identify mold in a home?
Often, mold is hidden - it hides between walls, behind drywall, or under flooring. By the time you see mold, it’s likely too late to save that area.
If your home or business has experienced any water damage, it’s imperitive that a professional comes to inspect your home for mold right away. In the meantime, try to dry the building out as much as possible. Mold thrives in a humid environment. Open windows, doors, and vents. Turn on fans, dehumidifiers, and space heaters (if safe to do so) to reduce the ambient humidity and inhibit mold growth.
Things to look for when checking for mold
Why should I be concerned about mold?
Mold is more than unsightly or smelly. Mold can cause structural failures, exacerbate respiratory conditions, and even cause healthy people to decline rapidly in health. Certain types of mold can be extremely dangerous to humans and pets, and all mold should be evaluated by a trained mold specialist.
How can I prevent mold?
The best thing you can do is prevent your home from getting water damage in the first place. Using a flood preparedness kit is a great way to minimize your risk. In addition to a flood kid, make sure your home is well ventilated and sealed. Having a home inspector check your home every couple of years is a great idea to help identify any foundation cracks, missing siding, or damage from animals or insects that could lead to water coming in.
It is crucial that you have access to your important documents before, during, and after a flood. Storing your documents inside the building may delay things, as your building may not be safe to go into immediately. Your documents could also become damaged with mold.
Be sure to have originals or copies of several important documents that may come in handy in the days and weeks following a flood:
While this list is not exhaustive and will change based on your personal situation, flood safety and preparedness can save a lot of headache in the future!
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