How to Prepare for a Flood in Canada?

How to Prepare for a Flood in Canada?

Floods in Canada reoccur pretty frequently. They cause a devastating amount of damage to property, endangering health and life. Besides, they can occur at any time of the year. So, each Canadian has to be prepared for this calamity. This guide provides detailed information on how to prepare for flooding so that you and your family are ready for such disaster scenarios with minimal risk and damage.

What Is a Flood?

It is the flowing of water over land that is usually dry. Different causes may bring this about, either natural or artificial. In Canada, floods are mainly caused by anything related to concentrated heavy rainfall, rapid snowmelt, ice jams in rivers, and failure of dams or levees. Additionally, they can be categorized into subtypes, for instance, flash floods, river floods, and coastal floods, where each has its characteristics and consequences.

Flash floods occur without warning, typically within minutes or hours after a protracted excess of rainfall. They are very lethal due to their sudden bursts and the strong water currents they produce. Riverine floods come as an overflow along riverbanks. This often occurs after continuous rainfall or the melting of ice. For coastal floods, these are experienced mainly due to storm surges or high tides. In some cases, this option made worse by strong winds coupled with low-pressure systems.

What Are the Biggest Causes of Floods?

This varies. However, naturally occurring factors primarily cause floods in Canada, although human activities can make the frequency and severity of these events more common. The following represent the critical causes of floods in Canada:

  • Intense and long-term rainfall is the main trigger for flash flooding: When the ground becomes saturated, excess water cannot be absorbed into the system, thus flowing overland, consequently leading to flooding. Meanwhile, storms and weather systems that bring large amounts of rain within a short period may quickly overwhelm the drainage systems and rivers, causing them to overflow.
  • Snowmelt: The rapid melting of snowpacks, particularly in spring, has the potential to cause floods. As temperatures begin to rise sharply, the melting snow does so faster than the ground can soak in the water, hence causing excess runoff. This takes a nasty turn in places with abundant snow.
  • Ice Jams: It is the event that occurs when most of the jammed ice begins to have a thawing effect. This results in giant blockages from bits and pieces of ice breaking off from the rivers during their frozen state in the spring. The ice jams hold the floodwaters back, letting them rise upstream and sometimes causing flooding when the jam breaks.
  • Dam and Levee Failures: In some unfortunate scenarios, failures in dams or levees happen when the structure is breached. These infrastructural structures are designed to control water flow, but common reasons for their inability include poor maintenance, improprieties in design, and extreme weather conditions.
  • Urbanization: Human activities such as urbanization and deforestation raise the risks of floods. Paved surfaces, buildings, and other structures reduce the technique of water infiltration by the land, with an increase in runoff and flood risks.
  • Natural Topography: Low-lying areas, floodplains, and those along rivers or coastlines are naturally more prone to flooding due to their topography, or features that make it possible for water to concentrate in them after heavy rainfall or along the occurrence of storm surges.

What to Do Before a Flood?

Being prepared for a flood is the most beneficial key strategy. Here are some measures to be put in place before a flood so that you are protected, and your property is, too:

  • Be aware: Stay up-to-date with local weather forecasts and flood warnings. Download apps like the Alberta Rivers: Data and Advisories app or visit websites like Alberta River Basins for real-time information.
  • Put Together an Emergency Pack: Include in a flood emergency pack your basic needs such as water, non-perishable foods, a radio that could be battery-run, or is at least hand-cranked, with a set of flashlights, extra batteries, first-aid supplies, medications, and other critical documents in a waterproof container. Make sure the kit is easily accessible.
  • Develop a Family Emergency Plan: Make sure there is an evacuation route in place, a mode of communication, and a dedicated location where to reunite a family. Rehearse the plan many times so that all family members know what to do regarding a flood.
  • Keep important documents such as passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, and banking and insurance details high above the ground in a safe place. Consider keeping digital copies on a secure cloud service.
  • Ready Your Home: Use sealants that protect against water hazards around basement windows and doors. Ensure the downspouts and other conduits divert waters farther away from the house. Consider investing in a sump pump along with a battery backup and possibly other flooding protection measures, such as raising appliances and electrical components.
  • Secure Valuables: Move valuable items, such as electronics, furniture, and belongings of sentimental value, off the ground to higher elevations or upper floors. This could protect them from water damage in case of a flood.
  • Prepare your vehicle: This involves having a full gas tank, in case an evacuation is needed. Keep an emergency bag in your automobile. This can include blankets, meals, water, and a flashlight.
  • Insurance Coverage: Check with your insurance coverage to ensure you are well insured in case of flood damage. Flood insurance is often an extra coverage combined with standard homeowner policies. 
  • Community Preparedness: Engage in developing a community flood response plan with your neighbors. Share the notes, resources, and strategies for supporting each other during this period.

What to Do During a Flood?

The main concern in a flood is safety. Here are some critical steps:

  • Get the latest information: Listen to local authorities on radio, TV, or cellular alert channels. Follow all advice and orders regarding evacuation without delay.
  • Evacuation: When told to evacuate, do so immediately. Avoid areas close to bodies of water and obey all directions for evacuation. Don't take a shortcut in this process, as it could be blocked or dangerous.
  • Protect Your Home: If there is time before evacuation, elevate appliances and valuables off the ground or floor. Disconnect electrical appliances but do not handle electrical equipment.
  • Avoid Floodwaters: Do not walk or try to swim in them. Never do that. If you decide to drive instead, a vehicle can be easily swept away by two feet of rushing water across the road. Animal Care: Put your pets in a safe place and ensure you have enough food and water. Don't pen up your livestock; keep them free to move to higher ground.
  • Emergency Kit: Prepare an emergency bag ahead of time and always stay with it. The box should include water, food, flashlight, batteries, and first-aid supplies. Stay in Touch: Keep your cell phone charged and carry a power bank. Keep in touch with family and emergency services.

What to Do After a Flood?

Flood aftermath can be challenging. Here's what to do to recover safely:

  • Wait for Clearance: Return home only when the authorities have declared that it is safe. The floodwaters have enough strength to weaken most structural components and, in any case, could be hiding hazards from view under the water, such as electrical wires or debris.
  • Be sure to wear gloves, boots, and a mask. Minimize direct contact with floodwater; it may be contaminated.
  • Make photographs and videos of the damage. Take them for insurance claims. Keep records about all repair works and expenses very well.
  • Clean: Remove and dry your home by extracting water, pumps, and wet/dry vacuums. Put fans in place along with dehumidifiers to prevent the growth of mold.
  • Disinfect: Employ all-purpose cleaners in cleaning to kill bacteria and prevent mold on all hard surfaces. Give special attention to areas submerged in water. 
  • Electrical Safety: Allow a certified personnel to inspect your home's electrical system before turning on power. Do not use appliances that have been flooded before you have them checked by a professional. 
  • Get Help: Disaster recovery programs, and possibly financial assistance, are available for rebuilding or paying for costs not covered by insurance.

Is It Necessary to Buy a Portable Power Station in Case?

Portable power stations are one of the suitable investments in flood preparedness. They work as a reliable power source when the grid goes down, allowing you to keep your essential devices working. Here are two recommended models:


Power On, Rain or Shine

BLUETTI AC240 Portable Power Station
①1,536Wh Capacity; ②4,800W Surge Power; ③1,200W Max. Solar Input; ④IP65 Water & Dust-resistant; ⑤3,500+ Life Cycles to 80%; ⑥MPPT Controller, BMS, etc

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This is a high-power and reliable portable power station with a massive capacity of 1,536Wh and a maximum output of 2,400W, which powers most home devices. An IP65 rating designates it as a waterproof and dustproof option, which makes it perfect for use in harsh working conditions. Besides, the AC240 is chargeable using AC outlets, solar panels, or even car chargers, clearly increasing its flexibility in various uses.


Ultra-durable & Safe Power For Everyday Needs

BLUETTI AC200P Portable Power Station
①2,304Wh Capacity; ②Pure Sine Wave; ③LiFePO4; ④3,000+ Cycles to 80% Original Capacity; ⑤5 Years Warranty; ⑥MPPT Controller, BMS, etc

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This model gives you the highest capacity of 2,304 Wh and output of 2,400 W, which can take in an extensive single device or several devices simultaneously. It has a Power Lifting Mode that can enhance output to meet 3,600 W for power-thirsty electronics. Besides, the AC200P L, expandable with extra batteries, goes as high as 8,448 Wh. Also, it supports three kinds of recharges: AC, solar, and car input.

Final Thoughts

In short, in Canada, preparedness is the critical effort for reducing the impacts of floods and ensuring safety. Knowing the causes, being prepared for it ahead of time, taking the right actions during a flood, and proper procedures afterward can undoubtedly reduce the risk and help one recover faster. But always be informed, have an emergency plan, and be proactive in the protection of family and property.

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