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Pull the plug on water damage

You can reduce your risk of water damage at home and on the road with a few simple steps.

  • Clear snow and debris from around the foundation, drainage ditches, eavestroughs, downspouts and window wells.
  • Make sure the area around your home slopes away from the foundation, including sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways.
  • Check that your sump pump and/or backflow valves are working properly.
  • Wait until frost season is over to open outside water hose connections.

Drive smart in flood conditions

Avoid driving on flooded roads: as little as 15 cm (6 inches) of standing water can be enough to cause permanent engine damage, which could result in your vehicle becoming a total loss. A foot of water can make your car float; two feet will carry away most vehicles, including trucks and SUVs.

If you get caught on the road in an unexpected flood, take the following precautions:

  • Don’t drive through water if you can’t see how deep it is.
  • Follow the posted detour signs or find another route.
  • Watch for downed power lines in the water.
  • Avoid sharp turns and sudden braking, and control your speed to avoid hydroplaning or getting stuck.

Once you’re through the water, remember that your brakes will not function as well as they do when dry. If your engine stalls and won’t restart quickly, don’t attempt to start it again; it can cause further damage.

If you get stuck, turn your hazards on and call for assistance. If it’s too unsafe to leave your vehicle because of rising water levels, climb onto your roof and wait for assistance. Stay out of the water: assume that it’s contaminated and the currents are too strong to walk or swim through.

Get prepared before flood warnings happen

The best way to deal with flooding and other potential damaging events is to prepare ahead of time.

Environment Canada is the official source of weather information and is responsible for issuing warnings. Also check The Weather Network website.

Prepare emergency supply kits for your home and car with the essentials to keep your family comfortable for at least 72 hours . Create a household emergency plan that suits your family’s individual needs and practice it until everyone is sure of their role.

Take stock of the items in your basement and consider moving valuable items to a higher level in your home.