For many Canadians, spring can be a welcome sight. Many of us are yearning to put away our winter boots and shovels, see flowers bloom instead of snow fall, and enjoy warmer weather chase away cold temperatures. Yet with warming climates, as well as other factors, spring can also bring an increased risk of flooding. In Canada, floods are one of the most common disasters and one of the most costly.
Flooding can be a serious issue for Canadian families so we want to help you prepare for any flooding in your home or community with these resources and tips.
The #FloodReady campaign focuses on preparing your family and home in case of flooding for local communities, including First Nations. Cailin Hodder, senior manager of Disaster Management for Manitoba and Nunavut said this time of year increases risk levels in terms of flooding. Indeed, over the weekend, several communities in Manitoba did experience flooding.
“This time of year, flooding is highlighted especially in provinces such as Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario,” she said, adding Red Cross monitors environmental factors that could contribute to disasters. “Flooding in the Prairies is based on three criteria: how wet it is going into the winter and this year was a record year; level of precipitation throughout the winter, and again this year it was high; and melt rate, if snow melts quickly, it can catch us off guard but we’ve had a slow melt so far.”
Cailin Hodder presenting at Operation #FloodReady in Brandon, Manitoba
Cailin noted it is important to be prepared for personal disasters such as flooding.
“It’s important to have a personal preparation plan so if you have to evacuate, you can make sure you know where to reunite with family members,” she explains. “You should also have an emergency kit to grab and go. It would include necessary items like medications and paperwork. This is important because with flooding, it can be long term. In Manitoba, people have been out of their homes for many years.”
Canadian families can prepare for personal disasters, such as flooding, by knowing their community, having a family plan and a kit with essentials to grab and go.
“It’s a good idea to understand the risks in your area and see what your community is offering to mitigate risks,” added Cailin. “Some communities offer free sand bags or back-up valve pump subsidies up to 70 per cent. Also, understand your community as a whole. So, if an evacuation occurs, how will you receive that message; know ahead of time where to find that information and listen to directions provided.”
The Canadian Red Cross has trained disaster management volunteers and staff as well as resources to help when disaster strikes.
“Flooding usually occurs in multiple communities so we’re there to ensure everyone has his or her needs met. If an emergency happens to you, connect with the Red Cross. If you have to evacuate your home, let us know where you are and we’ll connect with the community,” she said.
“In Manitoba, we have operation Flood Ready where we work with governmental and non-profit agencies to make sure we’re ready for essentially a worst-case scenario.”
Ensure you and your loved ones are prepared – find out more at www.redcross.ca/ready
Learn about flooding preparation in your province from the government’s Public Safety website.