ADVICE FOR FLOODS
- Have a battery-powered radio in working order,
with spare batteries, and listen to instructions from your local stations
for weather and flood announcements.
- Have an emergency survival kit handy that
includes food, water and medical supplies in an easy-to-carry container.
Some other suggestions to be included are:
· Flashlight with spare batteries
· Warm clothing, including waterproof outer garments and
· Necessary medication
· Infant care items for your children
· Personal toiletries
· Identification for each member of your household
· Important personal and family documents
· Pets should not be taken to an emergency shelter, so have
prior arrangements for your pet to go to the home of a friend or a relative
that can care for them. Have an emergency kit, which includes additional pet
- Move furniture, essential items and other belongings
to upper floors above ground level if there is enough warning.
- If time permits, disconnect and move electrical
appliances, but do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or
standing in water.
- Remove such toxic substances as pesticides and insecticides
from the immediate area to prevent pollution and extensive clean up later.
- Disconnect eaves troughs if they are connected
to the house sewer.
- Remove toilet bowls, and plug basement sewer
drains and toilet connections with a wooden plug.
- If you have time, bring outdoor garden equipment
and lawn furniture inside or tie it down in flood areas.
When there is immediate
danger of flooding, shut off the main breaker in your home.
should be taken to safeguard or minimize damage to electrical, natural gas or
propane heating equipment. If there is enough warning time, consult your
supplier for instructions or for service on how to proceed.
Sand Bag Protection:
In some cases, homes may be
protected using sandbags or polyethylene barriers. This approach, however,
requires specific instructions that must be followed.
· Do not stack sandbags against the outside walls of your
house. Water suddenly seeping downward can create pressure, causing walls or floor
to buckle. When deep flooding is likely, permitting the floodwaters to flow
freely into the basement of your home will help avoid structural damage to the
foundation and the house by equalizing the water pressure with the outside of
the basement walls and floors.
SAND BAG DIKE
CROSS SECTIONS DETAIL
NOTE: Bottom Layer of Sand Bags Shall Be Placed With The Longest
Dimension Parallel To The Direction Of The Dike and The Next Layer
Perpendicular and So On.
- Listen for information and instructions from
your local radio or television newscast.
- Stay away from floodwaters, which can be
- Stay away from low-lying or flooded-prone areas
and avoid walking through moving water. Six inches of moving water can
knock you off your feet. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks,
culverts, or dry streambeds that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
If you have no choice but to walk in a flooded area, walk where the water
is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters
rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, if you
can do so safely. You and your vehicle can quickly be swept away as
- If you have a broken sewer and or water mains,
advise the authorities if you can by calling Sarnia City Hall and after
hours by calling the Sarnia Police Service.
- If you have contaminated floodwater in the
basement for extended periods of time, disinfect every three days if the
flood is severe and the house is occupied. For the average home, mix two
litres of liquid bleach into the flooded water.
Vacate your home when you
are advised to do so by local emergency authorities. Ignoring such a warning
could jeopardize the safety of your family or those who might eventually have
to come to rescue you.
Follow the routes
specified by the officials. Don’t take shortcuts. A shortcut could take you to
a blocked or dangerous area.
If time allows, leave a
note informing others when you left and where you went. If you have a mailbox.
Leave the note there. (Remember to take your emergency survival kit with you.
Make arrangements for
If you evacuate or need
to go to an emergency reception centre, register with the centre so that you
can be contacted and reunited with your loved ones. Remember to keep your car gas tank at least
half-full at all times.
Try to keep to the main
roads and drive with caution, measuring your speed to road and weather
Avoid passing another
vehicle if possible, when weather and road conditions are poor.
- Stay away from disaster areas unless local
authorities requests volunteers. If you are needed, bring your own
drinking water, food, and sleeping gear. Another way to help is to donate
money to a recognized disaster relief organization. Do not donate food,
clothing, or other personal items unless they are specifically requested.
- Stay away from flooded areas they may be
contaminated by gasoline, oil, or raw sewage. Underground or downed power
lines may have caused the water to be electrically charged.
- Drive only if necessary as some roads may have
been weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Encourage your children to express their
feelings. Comfort and reassure your child. Share with your child what
information you know about the situation, be honest but gentle and
supportive. In situations like this it’s important for the whole family to
stay together, one of a child’s biggest fears is that they will be
separated from their family. Following a disaster, many adults and
children sleep poorly, have no appetite, are apathetic and some are angry
over the loss of family belongings. Grieving is a normal process.
- Exercise caution when re-entering your home.
Avoid electrical shock by wearing rubber boots in water. Watch out for any
extension cords or any live power in the flooded area. If you have any
doubts about safety, have your home inspected by a professional before
entering or consult with your local electrical utility if you require
assistance. Look for buckled walls or floors.
- Do not turn on the electricity until a qualified
electrician has checked the circuits. Moisture may still be trapped within
the electrical boxes, receptacles, motors and switches.
- Contact your insurance agent. If your policy
covers your situation, an adjuster will be assigned to visit your home.
Take photos of and / or videotape the damage.
- Locate your financial records and keep detailed
records of all your cleanup costs.
- Do not occupy a house that contains standing
First Steps in Clean-up:
- Immediately add about 2 litres of chlorine
bleach to standing water.
- Use protective gear i.e. rubber gloves, rubber
boots and face masks when cleaning up flooded areas. Once the clean up
process is over, make sure that all parts of the body that have had
contact with the flooded waters or contaminated articles are washed.
- Flooded basements should be drained and cleared
after floodwaters have subsided. If your basement is full of water drain
the water in stages, about a third of the volume of water per day. If the
ground is still saturated and you drain the water too quickly it can cause
wall failures or other permanent structural damage to your home.
- Use pumps or pails to remove standing water,
followed by a wet / dry vacuum to mop up the rest.
- For instructions on how to disinfect and restore
wells and cisterns, contact our local Community Health Services
- Remove all soaked and dirty materials and
debris. Remove residual mud and soil, furniture, appliances, clothing and
bedding. Discard these items if they cannot be disinfected. Soaked
mattresses, box springs, stuffed toys, pillows, as well as furniture
coverings, padding and cushions are harder to disinfect and should be
disposed of and replaced. Small refuse should be collected and placed in
plastic bags for removal on regular garbage pick-up day. Larger items
should also be removed at this time. Discarded items should not be left
accessible to persons who may try to salvage them. Articles left for
garbage pick up should be labeled: “DANGER – DISCARDEED FLOOD ITEM – DO
- Hose down any dirt sticking to walls and
solid-wood furniture. Then rinse several times. Wash and wipe down all
surfaces and structure that can be with chlorine bleach, ensuring there is
adequate cross ventilation to remove fumes. Then rinse again. Wear a
charcoal respirator (which can be obtained at major safety supply or
hardware stores) when using bleach in any closed space. Wipe down surfaces
that have not been directly flooded-affected using a solution of one part
chlorine bleach to four parts cold or tepid water, mixed with a small
amount of non-ammonia dishwashing
detergent. Then rinse. (Note:
NEVER mix bleach with ammonia since the fumes produce together are
- You may need to break out walls and remove
drywall, wood paneling and insulation at least 500 mm (20 in.) above the
high-water line and replace.
- Ventilate or dehumidify the house until it is
completely dry. Tape clear food wrap to sections of material. If these
sections are still damp inside, they will turn darker than the surrounding
material. Continue to dry until this does not occur.
- Clean all interior walls and floor cavities with
a solution of water, chlorine bleach and non-ammonia dishwashing detergent
and dry thoroughly.
- Rinse, and then clean all floors as quickly as
possible. Replace flooring that has been deeply penetrated by floodwater
or sewage. Carpets must be dried within two days. For large areas, you may
want to hire a qualified professional to do the job. Carpets soaked with
sewage must be discarded immediately.
- Flush and disinfect floor drains and sump pumps
using undiluted chlorine bleach. Scrub to remove any grime or greasy dirt.
If footing drains outside the foundation are clogged, consult a
professional for advice or service.
- If regular checks reveal mould, kill it with
chlorine bleach. Remember mould can lead to serious health problems.
Do not heat the home to
more than 4 degrees Celsius (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit) until all water is
removed. A better choice is not to use central air conditioning units and
furnaces units until the basement is restored for occupancy since air borne
contaminants could be dispersed throughout the house.
If you use gasoline-,
kerosene- or propane- powered pumps or heaters, buy and install a carbon
monoxide sensor. Combustion devices can produce large amounts of lethal carbon
monoxide when not in proper working order or improperly ventilated.
Replace filters and
insulation inside furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators and freezers if they
have been wet. It may be cheaper just to replace some equipment. Flooded
forced-air heating ducts and return-duct pans should either be cleaned or
- Any food items exposed to flood waters should be
- Canned food should be closely checked for
“leaks’ and “swells”. Particular attention should be paid to seams and signs
of corrosion and to home prepared fruits in jars and sealers. Do not eat
any foods that look or smell abnormal, even if the can looks okay. Any
food that can be washed should be washed thoroughly and immersed in a
chlorine/water solution of 5 oz. of bleach/1 gallon water or 128 ml of
bleach/4 L water for 15 minutes. The area under the seal of jars and
bottles cannot be properly disinfected and should be disposed of to be on
the safe side.
- Foods, which have been wrapped in moisture-proof
material, should be examined for breaks in the wrapper. If the wrapper is
leaking or has been broken, dispose of the food.
- If the electricity has been off to your
refrigerator for more than 8 hours or the floodwaters have risen above the
door opening dispose of the contents. (Remember that if the refrigerator
has been open frequently there is a greater chance that the contents are
bad and should be disposed of.
- Dispose of all food products in the freezer if
floodwaters entered the freezer unit.
- If in doubt – throw
it out! Anything that stays
wet long enough will grow mould, and mould can make people sick. (For
further information on Health issues contact Environmental Health &
Prevention Services at the Community Health Services Department.
- Consult with your local authorities immediately
if you suspect water contamination immediately. Call the Community Health
- You may need to purchase bottled water.
- One method of Water Purification is boiling your
water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Let the water cool
before drinking. Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back
into it by pouring it back and forth between two clean containers. For
more information contact your Community Health Services Department.