What to do before a flood

Some simple actions can help you prepare for a flood.

Prepare an Emergency Kit to Keep at Home

At home, always have on hand an emergency kit (stored in a backpack or bin) containing the items that household members will need to make it through the first 3 days of an emergency situation. Your emergency kit should be stored in an easily accessible location. Verify its contents annually and replace the batteries and bottled water as needed, as well as non-perishable food that has expired.

Below are the 7 essential items you should have in your 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.;

Make a Household Emergency Plan

In the event of an emergency or a natural disaster, first responders may not arrive in your area immediately. You are therefore primarily responsible for your safety. The best way to prepare for such an eventuality is to have a household emergency plan :

  • Always have an emergency kit on hand that contains the essential items needed to meet the basic needs of household members for 3 days.
  • Draw up a list of the names and contact information of the persons you will need to reach in the event of an emergency (family members, daycare, school, municipality, etc.).
  • Prepare a household evacuation plan, determine where family members are to gather and conduct evacuation drills. If you live in a building with an elevator, be sure to use the stairs, even during drills.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, electricity and gas (if applicable).
  • Determine the route you will take to leave the neighborhood in the event of an evacuation. Determine an alternative route in the event that certain roads are impassable.
  • Make an inventory of your property, and include proofs of purchase, photos or video. Store these documents with copies of your home and automobile insurance policies in a safe place outside your home (such as your workplace, for example).
  • Contact your insurer to verify your home insurance coverage This hyperlink will open in a new window.. The majority of home insurance policies cover damages caused by natural phenomena such as hail, lightning, wind storms or tornadoes.

Know if your property is at risk

Check if your property is located in an area at risk of flooding This hyperlink will open in a new window. covered by municipal regulations. (French only).

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

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..

Verify your home insurance coverage

Contact your insurer to find out what is covered by your home insurance This hyperlink will open in a new window. in the event of flooding. Damage caused by a watercourse overflow is generally not covered by basic home insurance. However, certain insurers offer to add, through what is called an amendment, coverage for this type of damage. 

Know everyone's roles and responsibilities

In an emergency or a disaster, you are the first person responsible for your safety (French only) and that of your family, as well as safeguarding your property. In the event of a disaster, however, municipalities are responsible for helping the people affected and for taking the necessary measures.

When a municipality's response capacity is insufficient, the Gouvernement du Québec provides assistance (French only) by deploying government resources to facilitate the return to normal, based on what is provided for in Québec’s national civil protection plan.

Know what to do 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.

Protect your belongings

  • 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).

Last update: May 3, 2022

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