What to do before

Prepare an emergency kit.

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 beside the St. Lawrence River, pay close attention to weather forecasts This hyperlink will open in a new window. so that you can react quickly when conditions deteriorate.

Learn about measures you can take to protect yourself.

Check whether your home insurance covers flooding.

In the event of a flood warning

If you live near a waterway, monitor water levels and flow rates This hyperlink will open in a new window. on the Vigilance website (French only).

If you live beside the St. Lawrence River, check the tide tables This hyperlink will open in a new window..

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 meets applicable standards This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only).

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.

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

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

If the authorities allow it and there is no risk to your safety, you can go home. It's best to go during the day, when problems and hazards are easier to see.

Make a list of damage caused by the water and take photos or videos as proof:

  • Notify your municipality, insurance company and mortgage lender of the damage.
  • For claim purposes, retain all receipts or proof of purchase for damaged goods.

Notify municipal officials of any problems on your property (e.g., cracks or bulges on a slope, crumbling earth or unusual flow patterns on a bank) to prevent the risk of landslide.

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 the power has been turned off by Hydro-Québec, only a master electrician This hyperlink will open in a new window. can request that it be restored.

If the home was not flooded, Hydro-Québec will conduct an onsite inspection before restoring power. Contact Hydro-Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window. to make the request.

If the power has not been turned off but water has infiltrated the home, consult a master electrician This hyperlink will open in a new window. before restoring power. The electrician will assess the condition of your electrical system and make any repairs required to restore it to good working order.

Consult an expert before reconnecting heating appliances.

Consult a contractor with a natural gas qualification certificate before reconnecting equipment that uses natural gas This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only).

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Garden fruit and vegetables

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.

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 This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) for the usual instructions and recommendations.

Flooded vehicles

Never drive a flood-damaged road vehicle This hyperlink will open in a new window., including a motorcycle or recreational vehicle (RV, trailer).

Financial assistance

See the list of disasters for which assistance may be payable This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) and information about the financial assistance program This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only).

Contact information