How to prepare for flooding

Between 2003-2012, flooding cost Canadians over $20 billion. The scariest part is that many of these people weren’t insured for flood damage, meaning they had to pay for all repairs and replacements out of their own pockets. When it comes to flooding, the most worrisome type is overland flooding. This is when water flows overland and seeps into buildings through cracks in their foundation, windows and doors. With Calgary lying at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers, we, unfortunately, see our fair share of flooding.

Don’t wait for the water to start making plans – you need to be flood ready at all times. Here’s why:

  • Your insurance company very often does not cover overland flooding.
  • If water has gotten into your home previously, odds are it’ll happen again if you aren’t prepared.
  • Your finished and furnished basement will be expensive to repair if even a little bit of water gets in.
  • Flooding can cause mould to grow which can impact you and your family’s health.
  • Studies show that climate change is going to impact the levels of rainfall and extreme weather events, potentially causing flooding.

Now, we’re sure you’re wondering where to start. Here are a few tips:

  • Know the risks specific to your community. Environment Canada has resources that show past major flood events across the country.
  • Talk to your local government about programs to reduce flooding.
  • Protect your property.
  • Get help from a professional. If your area has seen major flooding in the past or has major structural issues like foundation cracks, contact an independent assessor that can help you find the most cost-effective solutions.

If you’re ready to get started now, here are 10 quick ways to prepare your house for flooding:

  1. Put sealant around basement and ground level windows.
  2. Install flood shields for basement windows and doors.
  3. Raise large appliances above potential water levels.
  4. Secure furnaces and heaters so they won’t tip over.
  5. Check that all basement drains are not blocked or covered.
  6. Make sure your sump pump is working and install a battery-powered backup.
  7. Properly grade your property to keep water flowing away from your house.
  8. Clean your eaves troughs.
  9. Extend all rain spouts at least two metres from your house.
  10. Set up rain barrels to contain as much excess water as possible.

With a little planning and work on your end, you can have your home prepared for all but the most devastating of floods. Many people think a few sandbags around their windows will do the trick, but once water is in the house, they’ll realize there was a lot more than needed to be done. As it is Emergency Preparedness Week, we encourage you to stay on top of your preparation and stay dry, Calgary!