What can we do to better prepare communities for floods?

By Fanni Barocsi 

Floods are one of the most common and costly disasters. Flooding can happen anywhere in Canada and impact anyone at any time. Flooding can occur when there’s heavy or steady rain that oversaturates the ground. It can also happen when snow or ice melt rapidly or pipes burst.
Flooded houses
Photo by: Joe Alvoeiro

However, even though flooding is common throughout Canada, most homeowners are unaware of the risk.

In 2018, Partners for Action partnered with Canadian Red Cross to develop a project designed to inform Canadians about the risks and create more resilient communities. Through a series of interviews, focus groups and online surveys this project identifies the barriers to action and what it will take to make communities more resilient.

The surveys (done in Windsor and Dufferin County in Ontario) reveal several barriers that prevent Canadians from preparing for floods. Some of the barriers include the cost, lack of information and time constraints.

Identifying these barriers is important because it helps organizations like the Red Cross better understand how to prepare communities for flooding.

The final report lists a series of recommendations including providing more resources that are accessible and community specific, delivering these resources in different ways and making the content appealing.

This action plan also includes administering drills. Regular practice drills (like fire drills) would instill confidence and ensure people know what to do if there’s a flood. Ensuring communities are ready for flooding and know what to do is necessary to create community resilience across Canada.

The best way to defend yourself against flooding is by being ready. Know the risks in your community, make a plan (practice your plan) and have an emergency kit ready to go. Preparedness is your best defence against disaster.
Disasters Happen Graphic
Related Stories: 
Great for humans, not great for homes: Sudden rise in winter temperature increases flooding risk 
Getting ready for flood season

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