The most common and expensive natural disaster in Canada is flooding, which is now more costly than fire or theft for Canadian property owners. Almost two million households are located in high-risk areas for floods, and the federal government warns they need to be prepared for flooding emergencies.
Natural occurring and intentional flooding can be a part of a healthy ecosystem and necessary in some areas to maintain ground water levels. But the catastrophic floods, such as those that happened last year in BC and Atlantic Canada, have shown us the destruction that catastrophic flooding can cause. In addition to flooded basements and general water damage to properties, irreparable structural harm to buildings and infrastructure caused by dislocated water and earth can have unpredictable outcomes and pose critical safety concerns.
ServiceMaster Restore has been in the business of water damage repair and emergency restoration services for over 65 years, and we have seen our share of major floods during this time. We urge our communities to obey evacuation orders and to move to higher ground and remain safe at the first indication of extreme flooding.
Please refer to our suggestions below on how to be prepared for a flood emergency in your home.
Tips on How to Be Prepared for Flooding
Become aware of flood risk in your area. Flood maps are available online to help you locate nearby areas at risk of flooding and assist you to make informed decisions about emergency preparedness.
Create an emergency plan. Have a predetermined emergency plan about how you and your household, including pets, will respond to a flood disaster. Having a plan will reduce anxiety and help keep you and your family focused and safe. Identify and practice evacuation routes and shelter plans.
Make grab-and-go kits to take with you in case of evacuation.
If flood waters get too close to your home, you may need to evacuate quickly. Prepare grab-and-go emergency kits in advance that include necessities such as ready-to-eat food, water, flashlights, batteries, first-aid kit and personal medications, copies of important documents such as insurance papers and identification, emergency blankets, and whistles.
Check with your insurance company to determine if flood insurance is available for your property. You can also contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 for information regarding flood insurance.
When it is safe to return to your home, use caution when inspecting the damage, there may be unseen structural failure in floor joists or to the studs in load bearing walls, as well as electrical and gas hazards.
The key to water damage repair is to act fast to prevent or minimize the onset of mold and further structural destruction. ServiceMaster Restore is here to help recover and restore your damaged property as soon as it is safe to do so.
If you have any concerns regarding disaster recovery, we encourage you to call your insurance provider or contact us directly at 1-800-RESPOND. We are available 24/7/365 to answer your questions.
Some steps you can take in and around your home and property to help prevent flood damage:
· Store valuables and important items or documents in water-tight containers.
· Clean your gutters regularly and make sure the downspouts drain away from and extend at least two metres from your basement wall.
· Keep nearby storm drains clear of debris.
· Install backflow valves on basement floor drains, washing machine drains, toilets and sink drains
· Dig a trench to protect your property from flooding. Call your local planning office before you dig to prevent damage to gas or electricity lines.
· Install a sump pump.