Floods: Before, During & After

Two vehicles in a flooded driveway

Floods can happen anywhere and at any time of the year. The best way to protect yourself and your family in case of a flood is to follow these steps:

  • Monitor local weather and alerts: Know your risk. 
  • Turn around, don’t drown – avoid flood waters.
  • Clean up carefully and wear protective clothing. 


  • The key to staying safe is to prepare and to have an emergency plan in place.
  • Know the flood risk in your community by calling your municipality and insurance company.
  • Know and practice evacuation routes.
  • Monitor local weather and alerts and follow instructions if told to evacuate.  
  • Have an emergency kit.

Actions to Take: 

You can be ready to help protect yourself and your family from flooding. Download this guide with steps you can take today.
  • Obtain home insurance with flood coverage.
  • Talk to your insurance provider about your risk and additional steps you can take to protect your home.
  • Protect your valuables in waterproof containers. Place them above potential water levels.
  • Put sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors. Add window wells and covers to windows that are near or below ground level.
  • Raise large appliances in the basement above the potential water level from a flood.
  • Find your floor drain and make sure nothing is covering it like boxes, furniture or carpet.
  • Install a sump pump, backup pump and power supply. Ensure all are in working order and test them regularly.
  • Install a backwater valve. Keep it in working order.
  • Check that your roof and eavestroughs are draining properly in heavy rains and that downspouts are directed well away from your home. 
  • Clean leaves, garbage, ice and other debris away from the storm drains near your home.
  • Ensure your landscaping is properly sloped away from your home.
  • Talk with your family and neighbours about what you would do during a flood.
  • Have practice drills with your family, so you know what to do and are prepared.


  • Listen to area radio and television stations and Weatheradio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress.
  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Turn around – don’t drown! Avoid walking and driving through flooded waters. They could be deeper than you think.
  • Keep children and pets away from flood water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.


Continue to take precautions and listen to and follow directions from local authorities.

  • Be alert for further instructions from officials and community leaders - listen to the radio, watch your local news channels, and/or follow your local news outlet and/or emergency officials on social media.
  • Do not return home until you are advised it is safe to do so. 
  • Contact your insurance company and let them know what happened. They will want to know a record of damage to your home and belongings and may request photos or video. 
  • Maintain good hygiene during flood cleanup by minimizing contact with floodwater or anything that may have come in contact with it. 
  • Wear protective clothing, including rubber boots or sturdy boots, safety glasses, hard hat, rubber gloves and a dust mask. 
  • Do not use water that could be contaminated. 
  • Discard any food items which may have been in contact with flood waters. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Do not use any appliances, heating, pressure, or sewage system until electrical components are dry and have been inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • Check with local authorities or community leaders on how to properly dispose of damaged items from your home.

After a Disaster

Recovering after a disaster can be overwhelming. Check out what resources the Red Cross has to offer.

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Get an Emergency Kit

Getting or making a kit is the final step in being ready for any emergency. Find out what you need to put in it.

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