What to do after a flood
After a flood and depending on the damage you have suffered, you must take action to ensure your safety, the safety of your family and the protection of your belongings.
Communicate with your municipality
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.
Communicate with your insurer
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.
If you have no flood coverage or it is insufficient, you may receive financial assistance and compensation from the Gouvernement du Québec.
Make sure your home is safe
Before returning to your home, make sure it is safe. Several signs can help you identify a weakened structure: cracks in the ceiling, weakened floors, doors that no longer close, etc. If you have any doubt, it is best to call on a building structure expert.
Make an inventory of the damage
Make an inventory of the flood damage supported by photographs or videos. Upon request, you may be required to provide this inventory to your municipality, insurer, and the financial establishment that granted you a mortgage loan.
Cleaning and repair work
Take the following precautions before starting any cleaning work on your home and yard:
- Pump out water and remove damaged materials. To avoid infection, it is recommended to wear proper equipment (protective glasses, gloves, mask and boots).
- Clean up and fully dry any water damage within 24 to 48 hours. Beyond that period, moulds can develop.
Visit the Clean up your house and yard page for complete instructions and recommendations.
When the house and materials are well dried out, is the time to rebuild. This work can be done by you or by a specialized company . Before doing this work, contact your municipality to find out about the applicable regulations and to determine whether a permit is required.
If your power was cut by Hydro-Québec, only a master electrician 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 (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 back on.
Before using your plumbing fixtures, make sure that the municipal drainage system and your septic system are functional, then:
- Clean or replace faucet outlets (aerators, shower heads, and flexible hoses).
- Check and clean, if necessary, the plumbing fixtures outlets and make sure that they are in good working condition (including the inside of the toilet tank and the overflow of sinks and tubs).
- Clean the retention tank and check the operation of the sump pumps.
- Locate, verify and clean floor drains and check valves (protection against sewer back-up).
- Have the condition of backflow prevention devices checked by a certified auditor, if applicable.
Drain, clean and replace water softener filters.
To learn more, consult the Post-disaster checklist – Plumbing (French only) from the Corporation des maîtres mécaniciens en tuyauterie du Québec.
Septic tanks and pumping stations can fill with silt and debris and should be drained and cleaned by professionals.
If sewage has backed up into your basement, clean the affected area and disinfect the floor.
Avoid using your septic system if the ground is still flooded with water.
As soon as the soil is no longer flooded or waterlogged:
- Have your septic tank, tanks and pumping station, if any, emptied as soon as possible. Fill your septic tank with water.
- Make sure that access covers are secure and that inspection holes have not been blocked or damaged.
- If you have an NQ 3680-910 certified treatment system, follow the recommendations of the manufacturer, its representative or the professional who services it.
- Before restoring power, inspect all electrical connections for damage. Make sure the devices are clean and dry.
- Repair any damage to the ground cover.
- Have your septic system inspected by a qualified septic system professional if you suspect a break or malfunction.
Do not drive over your septic system with a vehicle (at any time).
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 individual well and have your well water tested before consuming it. To find out how to proceed, see the page The quality of my well water . (French only)
Food and medications
Following a flood, sort and select foods that have come in contact with water to avoid food poisoning. After a power outage of more than six hours, check the quality of food before eating it.
Consult Store or throw away your food after a power outage or flood (French only) for information on deciding what to keep and what to throw out from your refrigerator and freezer.
Find out what financial assistance is available
People who have suffered damage as a result of a flood may be eligible for financial assistance or compensation.
To find out about eligibility requirements, eligible expenses under the program or to apply, visit the Flooding or disaster related financial assistance and compensation page.
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 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.
Pay attention to your reactions and those of your loved ones after experiencing a disaster:
- Anxiety, distress or frequent crying
- Apathy or loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating or confusion
- Increased alcohol or drug use
Psychosocial support is available to you. Psychosocial intervention professionals are available to support, advise and direct you to resources tailored to your needs or those of your loved ones. Call Info-Social, at 811, and select option 2 to speak with a professional. This service is free and confidential, and it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For more information on the possible reactions after a disaster and on ways to help you, see the Getting better following a disaster page.
Last update: January 30, 2023