image of a home in middle of flooded region
Floods are one of the most common and costly disasters in Canada. Floods occur when there is heavy or steady rain for several hours or days, which over-saturates the ground. Hurricanes, violent storms, ice jams or dams breaking can also lead to flash flooding. The potential for flood damage is high where there is development on low-lying, flood-prone lands. Learn how to plan and prepare before, during and after a flood to be Red Cross ready. 

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  • Listen to local news and weather reports for any potential flood warnings in your area.
  •  When a flood warning is issued, listen to local authorities for further directions.


  • Turn off power and gas lines in your home, if necessary.
  • Place your valuables on the upper floor of your house.
  • Remain on the upper floor and wait for instructions from your local authorities.
  • Stay away from swollen streams and rivers - moving waters can sweep you away. If outside, head to an elevated area.
  • Remain in an area where you are visible and safe. Be careful when driving – puddles can be deeper than you think.
  • If you are near a flooded area, park your car in an elevated location. Turn off the engine, get out of your vehicle and wait.


  • Stay away from fallen power lines.
  • Return home once officials have declared it safe to do so.
  • Look outside for any damage, such as loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks etc., before entering your home.
  • Approach entrances carefully, parts of your home may be damaged.
  • Discard food items that may have been in contact with flood waters. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Do not use water that may be contaminated for washing, cleaning, and drinking or food preparation.
  • Wear protective clothing - such as rubber boots and gloves – during cleanup.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Get a copy of the Red Cross Guide to Flood Recovery.
Be Red Cross ready and find out more about the risks in your community, make a plan and get a kit.