Flooding can happen in any area, at any time of year, and sometimes with little warning. Here are some basic steps you can take to help protect your home and your family.
Understand the risks and get prepared
Flooding can affect you even if you don’t live near a body of water. Floods can happen during heavy rains, hurricanes, when snow melts or dams break. You could find yourself in danger even in the driest of climates. It’s important to understand the dangers and how you can keep yourself safe before, during and after a flood.
Before a flood
Before a flood even happens, you should take the time to learn the possible risks as well as available evacuation routes in your community. You can contact your local municipality for this information. As part of your research, you should also consult with your insurance company about flood coverage for your home and possessions. Here are some other steps to take in order to stay fully prepared:
- Put together an emergency kit. Keep it in an easy to reach place where everyone at home can access it. It should include items such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and first-aid kit. You can also purchase emergency kits from organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross.
- Keep your valuables secure in waterproof containers and your basement appliances raised well above potential water levels.
- Seal and cover any windows as well as the base of doors that are near or below ground level.
- Ensure your floors drains are unobstructed and not covered by carpets or furniture.
- Install devices such as a backwater valve, sump pump, backup pump and power supply. Make sure you test them regularly.
- Check your roof, eavestroughs and downspouts to ensure they are draining properly in heavy rains.
- Clear the storm drains by your home from any garbage, leaves or ice.
- Keep your landscaping properly sloped away from your home.
- Have a conversation with your family and neighbours about your roles during a flood. Consider having a practice drill with them.
During a flood
It’s important to stay continuously informed when you’re in the midst of a flood and to be prepared to evacuate at any moment. Follow these tips to stay away from danger:
- Monitor local radio and television reports as well as social media to stay aware of warnings and flooding in progress.
- If a flood or flash flood warning has been issued in your area, be prepared to head to higher ground and to stay there.
- Flooded waters can be deeper than you realize. Keep children and pets away from them and do not attempt to walk or drive through them.
- Be especially alert at night, when it could be more difficult to recognize flood danger.
After a flood
Even after the flood ends, you may not be as safe to return home as you think. Consider taking the following precautions:
- Keep following local news outlets and emergency officials for the latest news. Don’t go home until it is officially safe to do so.
- Get in touch with your insurance company to let them know what happened. Find out what they need from you in terms of recording the damage to your home and possessions.
- When cleaning up, avoid floodwater or anything that came into contact with it as much as possible. Do not use anything that could have been contaminated, including food.
- Find out from community authorities how to properly dispose of any damaged items.
- Keep on any protective clothing you have. Examples include rubber boots and gloves, a hard hat, safety glasses, and a dust mask if you have one.
- Avoid using any appliances, or heating, pressure, or sewage systems until they are fully dry and have been inspected by an electrician.
While taking these precautions will help minimize the damage that can occur from flooding, it’s always best to ensure you have the proper coverage, so find out more about our flood insurance coverage today.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.