British Columbia continues to experience increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather, most notably with the widespread flooding across the province late last year. These extreme weather events pose a significant threat to the safety of British Columbians’ lives, livelihoods, assets, and communities.
With a flood watch issued for communities along the North Thompson River, it is important that local citizens understand how to prepare their property for flooding and the steps they need to take upon being cleared to return home to a flood-impact property. Although sandbagging can help reduce potential flood damage, there are many other ways that residents can prepare their properties ahead of the flood season.
Here are some key pre-flooding and post-flooding safety tips from Technical Safety BC.
What to prepare in advance if you live in a flood zone:
• Make a check list of all appliances you would need to unplug ahead of a flood evacuation.
• If possible, do your research ahead of time to determine what licensed contractor you would contact in the event your property is impacted by flooding.
Pre-flooding safety tips
Prep your electrical appliances:
• Perform a thorough check to ensure that all electrical panels, boxes, and plugs have covers which stay closed.
• Ensure that all valves and power knobs on all appliances and systems are turned off
• Relocate or remove electrical appliances and have a licensed contractor isolate electrical circuits.
Prep your gas appliances:
• Any gas appliance that is removed must have the open end of the pipe leading from the valve to the appliance capped or sealed. This work needs to be performed by a licensed gas contractor.
• Shut off the water leading to and from hot water tanks.
If serious damage is expected:
• Consider installing a Canadian-certified hard-wired surge suppressor directly to your home’s main electrical panel. In most cases, a licensed electrical contractor is required for this type of installation.
• Have your propane supplier remove your propane tank or ensure it is adequately anchored to prevent the tank from floating and being carried away by floodwaters.
If gas is provided by propane or other utility providers:
• Shut off the main gas supply upstream of the gas meter or at the propane tank or cylinder.
Post-flooding safety tips
• Conduct your own investigation.
• Only return to your property once it’s safe and you’ve been cleared to do so.
• Assess your home for any flooding damage, paying close attention to electrical and gas equipment.
• Do not turn on any gas or electrical items until they have been inspected by a licensed gas or electrical contractor.
• If your power has been turned off, contact your power and/or gas supplier to have it turned back on
Additional information on flood safety can be found by visiting the Technical Safety BC website: https://www.technicalsafetybc.ca/