Floods - What to do Before and After a Flood


Floods: What To Do Before And After

Don't be scared... Be Prepared

Though governments at every level work to reduce the risk of floods, the first line of defence always rests with the individual. Each of us has a responsibility to protect our homes and families to the greatest extent possible. By planning ahead and taking sensible precautions, you can do your part to minimize flood damage.

Flash or sudden flooding, in which warning time is extremely limited, can result from other causes such as earthquakes, tsunamis or tidal waves, hurricanes, violent storms or bursting of dams. In all cases, local government authorities try to keep residents informed of developments in areas most likely to be affected by flooding. Regular media advisories will recommend actions people should take to limit or prevent disaster. As the need arises, more detailed instructions by municipal or provincial authorities will be given.

Before The Flood


When there is immediate danger of flooding, shut off all power in your home.

Heating Equipment

Special precautions should be taken to safeguard or minimize damage to electrical, natural gas or propane heating equipment. If there is enough warning time, consult your supplier for instructions on how to proceed.

General Precautions

Ensure that you have a battery-powered radio in working order, with spare batteries, to listen to instructions from your local station.

Prepare for a minimum of a 3 day emergency survival kit that includes food, water and medical supplies in an easy-to-carry container. In addition to the battery-powered radio and spare batteries, it should contain at least the following items:

  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Warm clothing, including waterproof outer garments and footwear
  • Blankets
  • All necessary medication
  • Infant care items
  • Personal toiletries
  • Identification for each member of your household
  • Any important personal and family documents

Move furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings to floors about ground level. It is advisable to have a corded phone and spare batteries for any cell phones. During an emergency network capacity of the phone system becomes an issue. Remember only use the phone, if absolutely necessary. First responders are sharing those lines and must be given priority.

Remove such toxic substances as pesticides and insecticides from the immediate area to prevent pollution.

Disconnect eaves troughs if they are connected to the house sewer.

In some cases, homes may be protected by using sandbags or polyethylene barriers.


Vacate your home when you are advised to do so by local emergency authorities. Ignoring such a warning could jeopardize the safety of your family or those people who might eventually have to come to your rescue. When you leave, take your emergency survival kit with you.

Follow the routes specified by officials. Don't take shortcuts. They could lead you to a blocked or dangerous area.

Make arrangements for pets.

Should time allow, leave a note informing others when you left and where you went. If you have a mailbox, leave the note there.

If you are evacuated, register with the reception centre so that you can be contacted and reunited with your family and loved ones.

If you are using your car, try not to drive through flood waters. Fast water can sweep your car away. However, should you be caught in fast rising waters and your car stalls, leave it behind. Always consider your safety and the safety of others first.

Check the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation web site for further information on "After the Flood".