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Emergency Preparedness


Flooding occurs when temperatures suddenly rise, causing snow mounds to quickly melt. Flooding can also occur when there is heavy rainfall, causing an extra overflow of water. Exposure to flood waters can cause concerns about food safety, water safety, or clean-up activities. 

What You Can Do

  • Listen to the latest warnings and advisories on the radio, television, or reliable sources on social media or the internet. Examples of reliable sources include your local municipality, conservation authorities, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
  • Prepare your home for a possible extended vacancy and collect necessary personal items you will require if evacuated, such as cash, medication, important papers and identification, change of clothes.
  • Remove valuable items from the basement and lower-level areas.
  • Ensure that your cell phone is charged - it may be your only means of communication during an evacuation.
  • Be prepared to place your pets in a kennel, as evacuation centres may not accept animals.
  • Keep your automobile fueled.
  • Evacuate if directed to do so.
  • In the event of an evacuation, assist those with special needs such as children and persons with disabilities.
  • Secure all boats and items left loose on and around piers, docks, or boathouses.
  • Assume that your private well water or lake/river water is not safe to drink. Follow drinking water precautions to protect you and your family.
  • Food that has come into contact with flood water is no longer safe. Take precautions with food
  • Shut off the electricity, furnaces, and the outside gas valves if safe to do so.
  • Practice electrical safety. When floodwaters enter your home there is a risk of electric shock. Do not use any appliances or electronic devices that have been in contact with floodwaters.
  • Never try to cross a flooded area on foot.
  • If you are in a car, do not drive through flood waters.
  • If using a gas powered generator ensure it is operated outdoors with plenty of ventilation. Generators produce hazardous carbon monoxide.
  • If you have no electricity ensure that you use a flashlight as a light source. The use of matches, or candles could create an ignition source.
  • If you operate a food premise, personal service setting or childcare setting, and flood waters enter the building, you must close until further consultation with a public health inspector. Floodwaters entering your building may contain sewage, chemicals or other hazards that can contaminate surfaces, equipment or food products, putting employees and the public at risk. Commercially sealed, unopened, undamaged, airtight canned goods are safe once washed and sanitized.
  • Any surfaces or items (e.g. equipment, toys) that have been in contact with floodwaters are considered contaminated and need to cleaned and disinfected appropriately.

Flood dangers do not end when the water begins to recede. Take the following precautions following a flood:

  • Seek out medical assistance, if needed.
  • Check on neighbours who may need assistance.
  • Report any broken utility lines to the appropriate authorities.
  • Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes, or fuse breaker panels until they have been checked by your local authority.
  • Follow guidelines to ensure your drinking supply is safe after a flood.
  • Food may have been contaminated as well by flood waters or spoiled if the power went out.
  • Floodwaters can be contaminated with sewage, chemicals, or other hazards that can pose a risk to your health. Do not enter areas of your home where floodwaters are present.
  • Any surfaces or personal items within your home that have been in contact with floodwaters should be handled carefully and considered contaminated. It is important to clean up and dry things as soon as possible.

Sandbags from flooded areas have been in contact with unsafe water. Both the bags and the sand may contain harmful bacteria. They could be contaminated by oil-based or fuel products, hazardous chemicals, salt, sewage, or septic waste. These contaminants can be harmful to the environment and human health.

  • Treat used sandbags as municipal waste. For more information on where to dispose used sandbags contact your local municipality.
  • Wear appropriate protection such as gloves and eye wear to reduce your risk of exposure to bacteria, chemicals, or other hazards that could be present on or in used sandbags.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water after contacting floodwaters or handling items such as used sandbags.
  • Do not reuse sand from used sandbags in areas where there may be human contact.
  • Do not use the sand from used sandbags in children’s sandboxes, playgrounds, or for landscaping purposes where there may be direct human contact.
  • Never dispose of sand from used sandbags in a wetland, along waterways (shorelines), or other locations where it may have contact with people, wildlife, and the water.

For Current Flood Risk Information

Visit the following websites for information on flooding reports or the state of local watersheds:

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