Sorry to rain on your parade, but with spring well underway, a downpour is next up on the forecast. As Canada faces April showers, flooding becomes an imminent risk for property owners, residents and businesses.
Each spring, regions across Canada experience the wrath of flooding. Last year alone, snowmelt led to evacuations in B.C., Alberta and New Brunswick, while areas in Ontario declared a state of emergency due to increased sea levels.
To provide insight of the damage ahead, last year alone insured damage from severe weather in Canada reached $1.9-billion, a majority of that due to flooding. Last fall’s GTA flood alone caused over $80-million in insured damage.
Weather events and rainstorms have elevated the costs of flooding (now the costliest type of property damage) and the stakes for property owners are at an all-time high.
From urban sprawl developments on floodplains to the concrete landscapes of Canada’s developing cities, the loss of absorbent ground is accelerating with ever-increasing amounts of water left with no place to go.
Localized flooding is a top concern for Canadians who are likely wondering – what’s next and what can I do?
Water damage, mould and property loss are only some of devastating outcomes when property owners are unprepared, or unsure of how to deal with the after-effects of a flood.
FirstOnSite Restoration has spent the past decade mitigating floods and disasters for businesses and homeowners across Canada.
Here are several ways to protect properties against flood damage, whether commercial or residential.
Flooding prevention tips
1. Waterproof your basement, fill any cracks in the foundation, and put weather protection sealant around windows and the base of ground-level doors. Install flood shields or barriers for basement windows and doors.
2. Clear debris from your roof and eavestroughs so that they drain properly during heavy rains. Downspouts should extend at least six feet from the basement wall, well away from your and neighbouring properties.
3. Clear snow from roof. Your roof is designed to handle a certain load, but heavy snowstorms can cause snow to overload its capacity. A snow thaw can lead to roof leaks as water seeps into cracks and damaged vents. Basements can also flood when large amounts of snow and ice melt quickly. *Only a professional should attempt to access or climb a roof in the winter
4. Raise large appliances in the basement onto wood or cement blocks. If possible, raise electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring and heating systems – otherwise protect them with a floodwall or shield.
5. Anchor furnaces, water heaters, and/or oil tanks to the floor. Unsecured, they may tip over or float in a flood. A ruptured tank may leak fuel, creating a serious fire hazard.
6. Check that all basement flood drains are not blocked or covered. For extra precaution, you can install a water alarm to let you know if water is accumulating.
7. Make sure your sump pump is working and install a battery-operated backup in case of a power failure.
8. Install backflow valves for drains, toilets and other sewer connections in the basement. These valves automatically close if water or sewage backs up from the main sewer.
9. Turn off the electricity in flood-prone areas of the property if a flood is expected in your area.
10. Talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance. Standard residential insurance may not cover floods caused by water overflowing from lakes, rivers and other bodies of water (called overland flooding) but may be available separately. For business owners, flood insurance could be available as an add-on coverage to commercial property or to business interruption insurance policies. Commercial sewer backup coverage may also available but usually purchased separately.
11. Stay informed. Follow the latest public weather alerts for your area at https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html.
Source: FirstOnSite Restoration, https://www.firstonsite.ca/