This spring has been the worst flooding Canada has seen in decades. Torrential rains have been inundating streets, homes, and forcing mandatory evacuations. Researchers write that floods are Canada’s ‘most common and costly natural hazard.’ In fact, flooding has become Canada’s biggest natural disaster problem in terms of insurance claims, which is now costing billions of dollars per year. So how can we prevent flooding, or at least be prepared when it comes? We’ve put together a list of facts and preventative measures you can take to protect your home from flooding.
1. Avoid building on a flood plain: Experts say that “one way to battle future flooding is to stop building on flood plains”, plain and simple. This has become a somewhat controversial topic because some are saying flooding is getting to be an inevitable occurrence due to climate change, and we must work to say out of harm’s way, while others believe that property tax revenues are too important for municipalities to lose by no longer building on flood plains.
2. Perform regular maintenance on your equipment and home: Check out this detailed brochure put together by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction to see what you can do around your house to prevent flooding.
3. Get flood insurance: With the changes in weather we’ve been seeing, it has become clear that Disaster Recovery Assistance from the Federal government, combined with homeowner insurance aren’t enough to cover the 21st century’s climate.
4. Invest in a rubber dam: the cost of these rubber dams ranges from about $5,000-$10,000. Do you think it’s worth it? Tweet us @OntarioRivers to let us know what you think!
5. Have a family emergency plan: If and when an emergency strikes, you’ll be glad you were prepared.
6. Check out Ontario’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Map
7. Tips offered for living/working below dams:
1) Have a plan
- Write down your evacuation route to higher ground.
- Plan how you will evacuate family members who might need assistance.
- Practice your evacuation route with family and point our your family meeting place.
- Keep an emergency kit with enough blankets, flashlights, food, water, medication and supplies for three days.
2) If you’re in the water
- Drop any items that could weigh you down.
- Stay calm and lie on your back.
- Keep your feet up and pointed downstream to avoid hitting rocks and to prevent your feet from getting tangled.
- Go with the current and move diagonally across it until you reach shore.
- Roll onto dry land to drain your boots or waders.
3) If you’re near the water
- Head for higher ground.
- Turn on your weather radio to access the National Weather Service’s Emergency Alert System.
- Do not walk through moving water.
- Avoid driving through flooded areas.
- Follow your family’s or authorities’ evacuation plan.