Flood season is here; are you ready?

Post by Kathryn Dunmore, Red Cross blogger
Repair begins on flooded bathroomI had no idea how damaging water was to a house until I saw my parent’s home in Burlington flooded a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately, while spring brings flowers and warmth, it also brings increased risk of flooding due to melting snow and precipitation. In Canada, it is one of the most common disasters so take a few minutes to learn how to be prepared for flood season.

Flooding is a costly disaster, not only in insurance, time in repairing damage, and disrupted living arrangements, but also in emotion. It is jarring to see your family home ravaged with many items, even beloved pictures and mementos, ruined by flooding, and draining to get your home back to its previous state. As my parents were away on vacation, I helped get repairs underway; and I'll never forget the feelings I had while we waited for their return outside their house in an attempt to brace them for what they were about to see.

But we – and there were many involved in our flooding: friends, neighbours, all family members – learned a lot from this costly lesson. We are all definitely better prepared now.

Here are some tips from the Canadian Red Cross  to help prepare you and your family – based on these three steps:

1.       Know your risks: Find out if you live in an area where floods could potentially happen.
2.       Make a plan: Work with your family to make a plan so that when a flood happens, you are ready.
3.       Get a kit: You can buy a preparedness kit from the Red Cross, or make your own.

When faced with potential flooding, listen to local news and weather reports for any warnings in your area. If a flood warning is issued, listen to local authorities for further directions. Also, check on vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours (the elderly, ill, disabled) who may require special assistance. 

If you are at home and flooding occurs, make sure to:

  • Turn off power and gas lines, 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.

If you are away from home:

  • Stay away from swollen streams and rivers, since moving waters can sweep you away, even if you are in a car;
  • Head to elevated areas;
  • Remain in an area where you are visible and safe
Read more on being prepared in flood season in our recent blog, Getting ready for flood season.

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