Flood Watch and High Stream-Flow advisories were issued by Environment Canada this past weekend, and we are now seeing the devastation of these heavy floods across British Columbia. We have compiled a list of basic safety tips for returning home after a flood. We urge you to use extreme caution when re-entering your home.
Stay Up to Date
We recommend all residents of B.C. keep an eye on emergency alerts. Look for key terms such as Flood Warning, Flood Alert, High Stream Flow Advisory, and Evacuations. Do not return home until authorities deem it safe to do so.
Electrical and Gas
Never touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. If your main power switch was not shut off prior to leaving, do not turn anything back on until a licensed contractor has inspected it.
If you smell gas, turn off the main gas valve and open windows (if safe). Leave your home immediately and notify your gas company or local Fire Department.
Appliances that have gotten wet may catch fire when turned on. Always have a licensed electrician inspect any appliances.
Do not re-enter your home if high flood waters remain in or around your building. Additionally, if you see any cracking or buckling on the walls, do not enter.
When your home is cleared safe of electrical hazards, you can start slowly draining water (1/3 per day). This will help maintain the structure of your home. Avoid heating your home above the temperature outside until your home is dry.
Flood waters are often heavily contaminated with sewage. Do not drink water until it is announced as safe in your area.
Store all wet valuable documents in a freezer until you need them. Consult with a lawyer about what should be retained and what documents just need the information copied down. Take photos of the damage and get in touch with your insurance company immediately.
Natural disasters can leave us in severe emotional distress. The Government of BC has resources available.
Our thoughts go out to all residents of British Columbia who have been affected by the recent flooding. For more resources, information, or to seek assistance please visit Red Cross.