Floods - What to do?

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This publication was produced by Public Safety Canada in collaboration with: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Canadian Red Cross, Natural Resources Canada, and St. John Ambulance.

An electronic version of this brochure is available at GetPrepared.ca.

Please note: Publications are not available in regular print format.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2010

Cat. No.: PS48-9/1-2011
ISBN: 978-1-100-52506-8

Introduction

Floods are the most frequent natural hazards in Canada, and the most costly in terms of property damage. Floods can occur in any region, in the countryside or in cities. In the past, floods have affected hundreds of thousands of Canadians. They can occur at any time of the year and are most often caused by heavy rainfall, rapid melting of a thick snow pack, ice jams, or more rarely, the failure of a natural or human-made dam.

All Canadian rivers experience flooding at one time or another. The potential for flood damage is particularly high where there is development on low-lying, flood-prone lands.

Flash or sudden flooding, in which warning time is extremely limited, can result from other causes such as hurricanes, violent rainstorms, or the bursting of dams.

Though all levels of government are working to reduce the impact of floods, individuals also play an important role. Everyone has a responsibility to protect their homes and their families.

You can greatly lessen the impact of a flood by taking the time to prepare in advance. This involves three basic steps:

Planning for a flood will also help prepare you for many other types of emergencies. After reading this guide, keep it in a handy spot, such as in your emergency kit.

Step 1: Know the risks and get prepared

To get prepared for a flood, you should know the risks specific to your community and your region to help you better prepare. To find out what the hazards are in your region, visit the ”Know the risks” section of the GetPrepared.ca website.

Before a flood

To reduce the likelihood of flood damage

If a flood is forecast

If flooding is imminent

During A Flood

Listen to the radio to find out what areas are affected, what roads are safe, where to go and what to do if the local emergency team asks you to leave your home.

If you need to evacuate

Never cross a flooded area

After a Flood

Re-entering your home

Ensure building safety

Water

Documentation

Register the amount of damage to your home with both your insurance agent and local municipality immediately.

Step 2: Make an Emergency Plan

Every Canadian household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family to know what to do in case of an emergency. Remember, your family may not be together when a flood or other emergency occurs.

Start by discussing what could happen and what you should do at home, at school or at work if an emergency happens. To be prepared, make a list of what needs to be done ahead of time. Store important family documents, such as birth certificates, passports, wills, financial documents, insurance policies, etc. in waterproof container(s). Identify an appropriate out-of-town contact that can act as a central point of contact in an emergency.

Write down and exercise your plan with the entire family at least once a year. Make sure everybody has a copy and keeps it close at hand.

For more information on making an emergency plan, call 1 800 O-Canada or visit GetPrepared.ca to download or complete an emergency plan online.

Step 3: Get an Emergency Kit

In an emergency you will need some basic supplies. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.

You may have some of the items already, such as a flashlight, battery-operated radio, food and water. The key is to make sure they are organized and easy to find. Would you be able to find your flashlight in the dark?

Make sure your kit is easy to carry. Keep it in a backpack, duffel bag or suitcase with wheels, in an easy-to-reach, accessible place, such as your front hall closet. Make sure everyone in the household knows where the emergency kit is.

Basic emergency kit

You can purchase a pre-packaged emergency kit from the Canadian Red Cross at www.redcross.ca. Visit GetPrepared.ca or call 1 800 O-Canada for a list of additional emergency kit items, including a car emergency kit.

Resources

National Resources

Public Safety Canada – Other publications:

For more emergency preparedness information, visit GetPrepared.ca or follow @Get_Prepared on Twitter.

Provincial and Territorial Resources

For regional or local information on emergency preparedness, contact your emergency management organization as follows:

Alberta
Alberta Emergency Management Agency
Telephone: (780) 422-9000 / Toll-free: 310-0000
www.aema.alberta.ca

British Columbia
Emergency Management BC
Telephone: (250) 952-4913 / Emergency: 1-800-663-3456
http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc

Manitoba
Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization
Telephone: (204) 945-4772 / Toll-free: 1-888-267-8298
www.manitobaemo.ca

New Brunswick
New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization
Telephone: (506) 453-2133 / Toll-free 24 Hour line: 1-800-561-4034
http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/public_safety/emo.html

Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador Fire and Emergency Services
Telephone: (709) 729-3703
www.ma.gov.nl.ca/ma/fes

Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories Emergency Management Organization
Telephone: (867) 873-7538 / 24 Hour line: (867) 920-2303
http://www.maca.gov.nt.ca/home/for-community-governments/safety-emergencies/emergency-preparedness-for-community-governments/

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office
Telephone Toll-free 24 Hour line: 1-866-424-5620
www.gov.ns.ca/emo

Nunavut
Nunavut Emergency Management
Telephone: (867) 975-5403 / Toll-free 24 Hour line: 1-800-693-1666
http://cgs.gov.nu.ca/en/commEmergency.aspx

Ontario
Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management
Telephone: (647) 329-1100 / Toll-free 24 Hour line: 1-800-565-1842
www.ontario.ca/beprepared

Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island Emergency Measures Organization
Telephone: (902) 894-0385 / After hours: (902) 892-9365
www.peipublicsafety.ca

Quebec
Quebec – Ministère de la sécurité publique
Telephone (toll-free): 1-866-644-6826
General information (Services Québec): 1-877-644-4545
www.securitepublique.gouv.qc.ca

Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Emergency Management Organization
Telephone: (306) 787-9563
www.gr.gov.sk.ca

Yukon
Yukon Emergency Measures Organization
Telephone: (867) 667-5220
Toll free (within the Yukon): 1-800-661-0408
www.community.gov.yk.ca/emo

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