Flooding – The classical elements (earth, water, air and fire) are shifting and water is now “the new fire” according to The Insurance Bureau of Canada. Flood season – which has commenced its annual wreckage tour – already has homeowners and businesses feeling the impact across the country.
Weather events and rainstorms have elevated the costs of flooding (now the costliest type of property damage) and the stakes for property owners and residents are at an all-time high.
Consider that in 2017, floods caused over $590 million in insured damage across Canada (excluding government and the uninsured) and that approximately one-in-five Canadian households are at a high risk of flooding.
From urban sprawl developments on floodplains to the concrete landscapes of our country’s developing cities, the loss of absorbent ground is accelerating with ever-increasing amounts of water left with no place to go.
Water damage, mould and property loss are only some of devastating outcomes when property owners are unprepared, or unsure of how to deal with the after-effects of a flood.
FirstOnSite Restoration has spent the past decade mitigating floods and disasters for businesses and homeowners across Canada.
Here are 11 ways to protect properties against flood damage, whether commercial or residential.
- Safety comes first when in a flooding situation. We tend to put our material goods before our personal safety. Make sure to do a basic risk assessment first before anything else.
If water is or has been above electrical panels, or a basement is filled with water don’t enter until a licensed electrician has completely disconnected the power.
- Waterproof your basement, fill any cracks in the foundation, and put weather protection sealant around windows and the base of ground-level doors. Install flood shields or barriers for basement windows and doors.
- Raise large appliances in the basement onto wood or cement blocks. If possible, raise electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring and heating systems – otherwise protect them with a floodwall or shield.
- Anchor furnaces, water heaters, and/or oil tanks to the floor. Unsecured, they may tip over or float in a flood. A ruptured tank may leak fuel, creating a serious fire hazard.
- Check that all basement flood drains are not blocked or covered. For extra precaution, you can install a water alarm to let you know if water is accumulating.
- Make sure your sump pump is working and install a battery-operated (or generator) backup in case of a power failure.
- Install backflow valves for drains, toilets and other sewer connections in the basement. These valves automatically close if water or sewage backs up from the main sewer.
- Clear debris from your roof and eavestroughs so that they drain properly during heavy rains. Downspouts should extend at least six feet from the basement wall, well away from your and neighbouring properties.
- Turn off the electricity ahead of time in flood-prone areas of the property if a flood is expected in your area.
- Talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance. Standard residential insurance many times does not cover floods caused by water overflowing from lakes, rivers and other bodies of water (called overland flooding) but may be available separately.
- Stay informed. Follow the latest public weather alerts for your area at https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html.
Source: FirstOnSite Restoration, https://www.firstonsite.ca/