What to do before

At home, always have on hand an emergency kit :

  • Drinking water (6 litres per person);

  • Non-perishable food (for at least 3 days);

  • Hand can opener;

  • Battery-operated radio and replacement batteries;

  • Headlamp or flashlight and replacement batteries or a wind-up flashlight;

  • Lighter or matches and candles;

  • First aid kit containing antiseptics, analgesics, adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, scissors, etc.

Check to see if your home is in a flood-prone area This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only).

If you live near a watercourse, monitor the water level and flow rates This hyperlink will open in a new window. on the Vigilance website (french only). If you live by the river, closely monitor weather forecasts This hyperlink will open in a new window. in order to react quickly if conditions deteriorate and consult the tide table This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Learn about measures you can take to protect yourself. Contact your municipality to find out how to get sandbags.

Check whether your home insurance covers flooding.

In the event of a flood warning

Follow your municipality and Urgence Québec social media feeds and consult local media outlets for information about the current situation and steps to be taken.

In the event of a storm surge or high wave warning, cover windows facing the river with wood panels.

Move basement or main floor items to the top floor.

Safely store chemical or harmful products, such as insecticides and waste oil residue, and make sure these are out of reach of children.

Block all basement sewer conduits if they are not protected by a check valve.

Block the basement drain.

Remove or secure all mobile items in the yard to prevent them from being thrown or swept away.

If water threatens to enter your home, cut the power This hyperlink will open in a new window. and turn off the gas to eliminate the risk of electrocution and fire.

Shut off the main gas valve, make sure all propane tanks are tightly closed and shut off the tap near the outlet valve on the oil tank.

Install sandbags and polyethylene membranes in front of all entrances and openings, such as doors, garages and wells, when the municipality so advises. Contact the municipality to learn where to obtain sandbags and follow the instructions in the Installer une digue de sacs de sable (PDF 70 Kb) guide (French only).

What to do during

Monitor the situation as it changes and obey instructions issued by official sources of information (e.g., your municipality and the Gouvernement du Québec).

Inform the authorities of any dangerous situation (e.g., heavy objects carried off by the floodwaters).

Before setting out, check road conditions This hyperlink will open in a new window. on Québec 511 website or call 511.

Electricity and natural gas

Be careful! If water enters your home, do not shut off the power yourself. Contact Hydro-Québec immediately This hyperlink will open in a new window. to disconnect the service.

If you smell gas or if your natural gas equipment is visibly damaged, call the emergency services number for your natural gas provider.

If you are using a generator, follow the instructions for its installation This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) and use.

Be careful of carbon monoxide

Never use devices designed for outdoor use (e.g., charcoal or gas barbecues and camping equipment) inside the home. These devices can cause poisoning from carbon monoxide, an invisible and odourless gas. Breathing carbon monoxide can be dangerous for one’s health and even cause death.

Only a carbon monoxide detector This hyperlink will open in a new window. can detect the presence of this gas and warn you. If your detector sounds a warning, leave the building immediately. Dial 911. Wait for the authorization of a firefighter before returning indoors, even for a few minutes.

Water consumption and use

Take certain precautions before consuming or using water.

  • Assume that water from the municipal waterworks is safe unless you receive a notice to the contrary from municipal officials. In case of doubt with respect to water colour, odour or taste, contact municipal officials before drinking it.
  • If you have a personal well, you must assume that the water is undrinkable even if it appears clear and is odourless. Until you can determine whether your well water is safe to drink, boil it vigorously for one minute before drinking it, or drink bottled water.
  • If you suspect chemical contamination, do not drink the water. Moreover, boiling water exposed to chemical contamination, especially to hydrocarbons, is not recommended. In this situation, bottled water is the only solution.

Food and medications

If the power has been off more than six hours, check the quality of food before eating it. Throw out any food that shows signs of deterioration. Consult Power outage and your food This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) for information on deciding what to keep and what to throw out from your refrigerator and freezer.

For the same reason, do not take any medications that must be stored in a cool place but were not. Return them to the pharmacy.

Septic systems

Take the necessary precautions to ensure that your septic system This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) meets applicable standards.

Evacuation and travel

Leave your home if you are in danger or at the request of the authorities. If you are unsure where to go, contact your municipality. For more details, consult the government’s Evacuate your home page.

Before leaving, pack essential items for all members of your family:

  • Medications
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Extra clothes
  • Blankets
  • Money
  • Identification documents
  • Car and house keys
  • Milk, bottles and diapers for infants
  • Electronic devices and accessories for connecting them
  • Items for the wellbeing of family members with special needs 

Keep your pets safe or take them to the place where you are temporarily housed, if permitted.

Avoid walking and driving on flooded streets. If you need to take a vehicle, drive carefully and consider abandoning your vehicle if the motor stalls.

Advise family or friends, as well as municipal officials, of where you intend to take shelter.

Communications

Keep in touch with loved ones, preferably by text messaging, email and social media so as to leave the telephone system free for urgent calls and calls from emergency workers.

What to do after

Have you been affected by flooding?
You may be entitled to financial assistance or compensation

If your house was flooded, promptly contact your municipality to identify yourself as a disaster victim. Report any abnormality on your lot such as cracks on a sloped lot, bulging on a slope, landslides, or the unusual shifting of a berm, to prevent risks of landslides.

If you have home insurance, contact your insurer to make a claim. Request a written response regardless of whether your request is accepted or rejected.

Make an inventory of the flood damage supported by photographs or videos. You must submit this inventory to your municipality, insurer, and the financial establishment that granted you a mortgage loan.

Begin cleanup and repair work This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) to avoid health problems. You or a specialized firm can carry out this step.

Before you start rebuilding This hyperlink will open in a new window., contact your municipality to find out about the applicable by-laws and determine whether a permit is necessary, especially in the case of major work.

Keep all receipts and invoices related to appraisal services, cleaning, and repair work, and for purchases of replacement goods. They will be requested when you apply for financial assistance.

If major work must be carried out and your health or safety is compromised, leave your home.

If your car or caravan has been flooded, do not attempt to start it. It must not, under any circumstances, be driven since it is no longer safe. For additional information, please consult the Flooded-damaged road vehicles This hyperlink will open in a new window. page.
 

Pay attention to stress reactions after a disaster:

  • Anxiety
  • Apathy or loss of energy
  • Aggressiveness
  • Increased alcohol or drug use

Appropriate psychological guidance can help you cope with responsibilities stemming from the situation. Contact Info-Santé at 811 and select Info-Social to speak with a social worker. This confidential service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Electricity and natural gas

If your power was cut by Hydro-Québec, only a master electrician This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) can ask Hydro-Québec to restore it.

If your power was not cut, but there was water infiltration in your home, consult a master electrician This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) before restoring the power. The electrician will tell you what condition your home’s electrical system is in and perform the necessary repair work.

Consult a specialist before turning heating systems back on.

Consult a certified natural gas contractor before turning natural gas-powered equipment This hyperlink will open in a new window. back on.

Water

Verify that your water is safe to drink. In case of doubt with respect to water colour, odour or taste, contact municipal officials before drinking it.

You must assume that the water from a personal well is undrinkable. Disinfect your personal well This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) and have the water analyzed This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) before drinking it.

Food and medications

If the power has been off more than six hours, check the quality of food before eating it. Throw out any food that shows signs of deterioration. Consult Power outage and your food (French only) for information on deciding what to keep and what to throw out from your refrigerator and freezer.

Throw out any food stored at room temperature that has been in contact with the flood waters (e.g., canned food, peanut butter, muffins and crackers).

Follow these instructions before eating canned food:

  • Inspect the cans and throw out any that are damaged. This includes cans that are swollen, leak, have been punctured or have a hole, are broken, or are excessively rusty. It also includes cans that have been crushed or bent to the point that they cannot be stacked normally or opened with a manual can-opener.
  • Wash, rinse and dry canned food before opening.
  • After opening canned food, check that the contents appear normal.

Do not take medications that have remained in a refrigerator without electricity for more than six hours. Return them to the pharmacy.

Do not take medications that have been in contact with flood waters or whose packaging show signs of water damage. In case of doubt, consult a pharmacist.

If your garden has been flooded, throw out any fruit, vegetables and herbs that grow above ground, such as strawberries and lettuce. Carefully wash root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots.

Plumbing systems

Before using your plumbing fixtures, make sure that the municipal drainage system and your septic system are functional, then follow the recommendations for use.

Septic systems

Septic tanks and pumping stations can fill with silt and debris and should be drained and cleaned by professionals. After a flood, take the recommended precautions to prevent damage.

Clean up your house and yard

A number of actions need to be taken to effectively clean your home and yard following a disaster. Consult Cleaning your home and your yard for the usual instructions and recommendations.

Protect yourself against abusive practices

Be wary of salespersons and contractors who might take advantage of the emergency situation or your distress to increase their prices, for example. You must promptly contact the Office de la protection du consommateur This hyperlink will open in a new window. or your municipality to report such practices.

If you must have work done in the wake of a disaster, first discuss the matter with your insurer to agree on the amounts granted. Once you are fully informed, avoid signing any agreement while in an emotional state.

If you are unable to pay suppliers’ or creditors’ invoices because of the situation, contact the customer service offices of your suppliers or your financial institution in order to make arrangements.

Financial assistance and compensation

If you have been affected by flooding, you could receive financial assistance from the government. Before you apply, first contact your municipality and identify yourself as a disaster victim.

Submit an application for financial assistance for:

You have three months from the date of the disaster to submit your application for financial assistance.

If you are unable to submit your application for financial assistance within the three-month deadline, you must submit advance notice to the Ministère de la Sécurité publique before the deadline expires showing why you cannot act sooner.

Government programs and services

Contact Services Québec for information on the programs and services provided by the Gouvernement du Québec or to replace cards, permits, licences or certificates issued by government ministries and organizations.

Contact information

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Last update: March 30, 2021

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