Are you prepared for a flood in Alberta? As we have seen in the past few years in Alberta, floods can be both dangerous and devastating. We may not expect them, but they certainly pose a threat to Albertans especially in the spring when the snow is melting and the rain is pouring.
Despite the increased flooding risk during spring compared to other seasons, you need to know how to prepare for a flood as they can occur at any time and without warning. Although certain floods may come with a flood watch and/or flood warning announcements.
There are a few key things to know when it comes to flooding in Alberta, regardless of whether you have flood insurance or not. You need to know what a flood watch is versus a flood warning.
What is the Difference Between a Flood Watch vs. a Flood Warning?
A flood watch means that you must remain vigilant and “be aware”, as conditions may be prime for flooding to occur in your area.
Steps to Take After a Flood Watch Announcement
• Turn on your TV and radio. You will receive the latest weather updates and emergency instructions. You could also use SMS/text or other notification services in addition to social media networks such as, Twitter, and Facebook.
• Know where to go. You may need to reach higher ground quickly and on foot.
• Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
How To Prepare Your Home For Your Flood: Checklist
• Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible level in your home. This will help to protect them from flood damage.
• Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.
• If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve. This helps prevent fires and explosions.
An flood warning means that you absolutely must take action to protect both your family, pets, livestock and property as flooding is either happening or will happen shortly.
Steps to Take in the Event of a Flood in Alberta
• Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground. Avoid flood zones.
• Evacuate if directed.
• Reduce the risk of drowning by not walking or driving through flood waters. A mere 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away. Moving water is extraordinarily powerful. Don’t underestimate the danger of flood waters in Alberta!
Have a flood preparedness plan ready well in advance as you won’t be able to assemble it once flooding has started. Ensure that you prepare a flood emergency kit that could include any of these recommended items.
Flood Safety Kit Checklist
• Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food items (e.g. bars and canned food items)
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Hand sanitizer and/or soap
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Manual can opener for food
• Local maps
• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
In addition to having a flood emergency kit an actual emergency plan can help reduce stress in the event of a flood watch or warning. Visit the link below to find emergency plans for parents, kids, transit riders, vehicle commuters and other groups.
What To Do During a Flood in Edmonton, Alberta
Once a Flood Watch or Warning has been issued, there are specific things you need to do. The Red Cross has listed the following action steps as appropriate ways to respond during an Alberta flood:
• Listen to TV and radio broadcasts as well as your Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from Environment Canada.
• Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
• When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area head for higher ground and stay there. Make sure that everyone knows where this area is.
• Stay away from floodwaters. If you arrive at flowing flood waters where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. As mentioned before, six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
• If you see a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
• Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
Lastly, recovering from a flood can be stressful. It is important to stay safe and not rush home, no matter how difficult it may be
What To Do After a Flood
• Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
• Before entering your home, inspect the perimeter for dangling power lines, damaged gas lines, cracks to the foundation or other damage.
• Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. Determine the integrity of porch roofs and overhangs to ensure that all structural support is intact.
• Watch out for wild animals that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
• If you smell natural or propane gas (like rotten eggs) or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
• If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
• Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
• Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal in order to avoid risk.
• During cleanup be sure to wear protective clothing including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
• Make sure your food and water supplies are safe. Hang them from a tree with rope if necessary. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out!
For more information and flood preparedness tips for Edmonton Alberta, visit these websites: