As we have seen in the news recently there have been evacuation orders announced for flooding in BC. So are you reading for flooding in your community?
Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history, it’s also based on a number of factors: rainfall, river-flow,, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to building and development.
The risk of flooding is higher if you are in low-lying areas, near water or downstream from a dam or where the surrounding geography has changed by development.
The one thing you can do to protect yourself from flooding… purchase flood insurance.
Before a Flood
What would you do if your property were flooded? Are you ready for flooding?
Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Flooding can happen in areas due to a number of factors including rainfall, topography, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes due to new construction and development
To prepare for a flood, you should:
1 Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. You can get help to make a family emergency plan from the Canadian Government website here
2 Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
3 Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
4 Consider installing “check valves” to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
5 If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds
During a Flood
1 Listen to the radio or television for information.
2 Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
3 Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain
clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do
1 Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
2 Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
1 Do not walk through moving water. Fifteen centimetres (six inches) of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
2 Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
After a Flood
Your home has been flooded. Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist. Here are some things to remember in the days ahead:
1 Use local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert informed advice as soon as available.
2 Avoid moving water.
3 Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or a relief organization.
4 Stay off the roads and out of the way as emergency
5 Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.
6 Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
7 Take another route if you come upon a barricade or flooded road. Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection.
If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded:
1 Stay on firm ground. Moving water only 15 centimetres (six inches) deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
2 Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways. Flood debris may hide animals and broken bottles, and it’s also slippery. Avoid walking or driving through it.
3 Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
4 Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
5 Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
A flood can cause physical hazards and emotional stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleanup and repair.