Before Flooding

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                                                 Emergency Preparedness
                                                      Before Flooding
BEING PREPARED                                    •   Develop a family emergency plan:
                                                      − Discuss the type of disasters that
FLOOD NOTIFICATION                                        could occur
Alberta Environmental monitors weather                − Explain how to prepare and
patterns, precipitation and provincial water              respond
levels and flows. Its Environmental                   − Discuss what to do if advised to
Monitoring and Evaluation Branch provides                 evacuate                                 EMERGENCY KIT
a comprehensive series of public advisories           − Practice what you have discussed           An emergency can isolate you in your home
about potential flooding. These include river     •   Include arrangements for family              for several days. After a disaster, local
stage-up advisories, ice-jam warnings, high           members with special needs (disabled         emergency services may be at the scene
streamflow advisories, flood watches and              and elderly who use special medical          but cannot reach everyone immediately.
flood warnings, for more information visit            equipment, etc.) in your plan.               When a disaster occurs, you may not have
www.gov.ab.ca/env. The Branch advises             •   Make arrangements for your family            time to shop or search for supplies. But if
water managers, municipalities and                    pet(s) in your planning. Contact your        you have supplies gathered in advance,
Emergency Management Alberta about                    local disaster services office or your       your family can withstand isolation or
flood potential.                                      veterinarian for information.                evacuation.

•   A High Streamflow Advisory means that                                                          •   Family records kept at home should be
    stream levels are rising or expected to                                                            stored in a portable, fireproof, and
    rise rapidly and no major flooding is                                                              waterproof container:
    expected. Minor flooding in low-lying                                                              − mortgage papers, medical records,
    areas is possible. Anyone situated                                                                      insurance policies, marriage and
    close to the streams affected (campers,                                                                 birth certificates, wills, bank account
    fishermen, boaters and the general            •   Plan how your family will stay in contact             and credit card numbers, stock and
    public) is advised to be cautious of the          if separated by a disaster or                         bond certificates, tax records,
    rising levels.                                    emergency:                                            passports, computer disks and
•   A Flood Watch means that stream                   − Pick two meeting places; (1) a                      tapes
    levels are rising and will approach or                 location at a safe distance from            − irreplaceable items (photographs,
    may exceed bank full. Flooding of areas                your home in case of fire; (2) a                 heirlooms)
    adjacent to these streams may occur.                   place outside your neighbourhood            − household inventory
    Anyone situated close to the streams is                in case you cannot return home.             − important telephone numbers
    advised to take appropriate                       − Choose a relative or friend who            •   Store “tap” water in sealed,
    precautionary measures.                                lives outside your municipality, as a       unbreakable containers. Adults need a
•   A Flood Warning means that rising river                “check-in contact” for everyone to          minimum of one litre of water per day
    levels will result in flooding of areas                call.                                       for drinking. Hot environments and
    adjacent to the streams affected.             •   Post emergency telephone numbers by              intense physical activity can double that
    Anyone situated close to the river                every phone in your home.                        amount. Children, nursing mothers and
    should take appropriate measures to           •   Teach children how and when to call              ill persons may need more. Replace
    avoid flood damage.                               fire, police and emergency medical               stored water every six months.
                                                      services, and which local radio station      •   Make sure you have at least a five-day
Municipal governments are responsible for                                                              supply of food and water for each family
                                                      to tune into for emergency information.
informing their residents about possible                                                               member on hand. Select foods that
                                                  •   Prepare an emergency kit for the home
flooding and providing detailed information                                                            require no refrigeration, preparation or
                                                      and for each vehicle. Maintain the kits
about what to do to protect their families                                                             cooking and little or no water. Foods
                                                      (replenish supplies, etc.) and make sure
and property. This information is often                                                                should be non-perishable, such as
                                                      everyone knows where they are stored.
provided through local newspapers, and                                                                 canned or sealed-package items.
radio and television stations.                    •   Show family members how and when to
                                                      shut off water, gas and electricity at the       Rotate foods in with your regular pantry
                                                      main switches.                                   supplies. Suggested items are:
DEVELOP A FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN (FOR              •   Learn your community’s evacuation                − ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits
ALL TYPES OF EMERGENCIES)                             routes, as some hazards may force you                 and vegetables, and a can opener.
You and your family can minimize your loss            to leave your home.                              − canned juices, milk, soup (if
in a flood situation. Information is your best    •   Learn first aid and CPR.                              powdered, store extra water)
defense when emergencies occur.                   •   Meet with your neigbours and plan how            − cartons of ultra heat-treated (UHT)
• Contact your local Director of Disaster             you would work together in a disaster                 milk.
     Services or municipal government office          situation. Include neighbours with               − staples - sugar, salt, pepper
     to find out what emergency or disaster           special needs, such as elderly or                − high energy foods - peanut butter,
     events could occur in your area. Ask             disabled persons in your planning.                    jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail
     what you should do to prepare for each.          Contact your municipal administration                 mix
     Learn the warning systems your                   to ensure that your plan is consistent           − foods for infants, the elderly or
     municipal government uses. Make sure             with probable municipal actions.                      persons on special diets
     you know what the signals mean, how                                                               − comfort/stress foods - cookies, hard
     they will be used, and what you should                                                                 candy, sweetened cereal, instant
     do when you hear them.                                                                                 coffee, tea bags
July 2005
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•   Medicines required by family members                                                            the weeping tile adjacent to your house
    such as insulin or prescriptions. Check                                                         foundation.
    with your doctor about storing                                                              •   Damage or sanitary sewer surcharging
    prescription medicines.                                                                         can occur if rainwater drains too close
•   Foods required for special diets or baby                                                        to your house on ground that may not
    foods.                                                                                          be tightly compacted. The excavation
•   A solar, hand wind-up, or battery-                                                              for your basement may have been dug
    operated radio and flashlight in working                                                        a few feet wider on all sides to allow
    order, with extra batteries.                                                                    working room during construction of the
•   First aid kit and manual. Your local fire     HOW TO FLOODPROOF YOUR HOME                       basement walls. When this extra space
    department, St. John Ambulance office         Municipal governments prevent flooding by         was backfilled, the soil may not have
    or Canadian Red Cross chapter can             maintaining the sewage systems. If you            been tamped down as tightly as the
    advise on what items to include in your       experience drainage problems, begin by            original soil, making it more likely to
    kit.                                          ensuring that the source of flooding is not       settle and trap surface water.
•   Fire-fighting equipment to suppress           on your property. Take steps to floodproof    •   Surface water soaking down to your
    small fires, including an all-purpose fire    your home. First, learn how and why               foundation can create problems: it can
    extinguisher (rated A-B-C).                   flooding occurs.                                  damage your foundation; seep through
•   Personal hygiene supplies                                                                       cracks in your basement wall, causing
•   Portable heating device such as a             What is a Sanitary Sewer?                         dampness; or overload the sanitary
    catalytic heater using kerosene or                                                              sewer by draining through weeping
                                                  • A sanitary sewer is a pipe, located in
    propane. Know the hazards of using                                                              tiles, causing a sewer backup.
                                                    the street that is designed to transport
    these fuels and be sure to follow the           wastewater from your home. This             What You Can Do to Prevent Flooding:
    manufacturer’s instructions. Always             consists of water from sanitary fixtures    • Fill in any settlement next to your
    make sure there is adequate ventilation         and floor drains inside your house, as        house.
    to prevent the build-up of hazardous            well as groundwater from weeping tiles      • Redirect storm water away from your
    fumes.                                          around the foundation of your home.           house.
•   See the last page of this document for a
                                                  What is a Storm Sewer?                        • Make sure the ground slopes away
    handy telephone list.
                                                  • A storm sewer is a pipe, located in the       from your house on all sides.
                                                    street that is designed to carry storm-     • Always keep your downspout extension
INSURANCE
                                                    related water runoff. Storm sewers are        in place.
• Insurance is readily and reasonably
                                                    normally much larger than sanitary          • Check to see that your downspout
    available for homes, and their contents;
                                                    sewers because they are designed to           extension drains a good distance away
    businesses, stock and equipment; farm
                                                    carry much larger amounts of flow.            from your house in an area that will not
    buildings, livestock and equipment; and
                                                                                                  erode.
    vehicles of all types. Check regularly        What Causes Sewer Backup?
    with your insurance agent or broker to                                                      • Be careful that water does not drain into
                                                  • Extra storm-related water (from sources       your neighbour’s property.
    ensure you have appropriate and
                                                    other than wastewater and                   • If your downspout is connected to the
    adequate insurance coverage, including
                                                    groundwater) should flow into the storm       weeping tile adjacent to your home,
    any extensions in coverage that may be
                                                    sewer or soak slowly into the ground          disconnect it immediately.
    available, which were not previously.
                                                    without entering the sanitary sewer.        • If you are constructing a new home and
• Coverage is available for most major
                                                  • If excess storm water does enter the          plan to build on a slab, or install a
    disasters, e.g. fire, lightning strikes, an
                                                    sanitary sewer system, it causes a            washroom in the basement, consider
    explosion, windstorm, hail, tornado and
                                                    supercharged sewer flow. An eight-inch        taking the necessary precautions to
    many others. Flood coverage can be
                                                    (20 cm) sanitary sewer can handle             prevent sewage and water from backing
    added to business policies, but is not
                                                    wastewater from up to 500 homes;              up into your house through the sanitary
    generally available for homeowners.
                                                    however, it takes only a few unexpected       drains.
• Most policies include or can include              water sources to overload this kind of
    coverage for damage caused by sewer                                                         • You may also consider taking these
                                                    system.                                       precautions in an existing home, but
    back-up. Make sure your policy
                                                  • Sewer backup insurance is available on        these changes vary in complexity and
    includes sewer back-up insurance.
                                                    most homeowner policies for a small           cost.
• Keep a detailed inventory of your                 premium. Check with your insurance
    residence and/or business. Keep it in                                                       • You may be able to do some “flood-
                                                    agent or broker.                              proofing” tasks yourself, while other
    your emergency kit. It will be invaluable
    in the event of loss.                         How Can a Supercharged Sanitary                 changes need a qualified contractor or
• Make sure your insurance policies and           Sewer Cause Basement Flooding?                  tradesman.
    related records are in a safe location        • A supercharged sewer flows at a             • One aspect of flood protection involves
    and easily available after an emergency          greater than normal level. Basement          the installation of backflow valves on
    or disaster event.                               flooding can occur if the home has           toilets, floor drains, washing machine
• The Insurance Bureau of Canada has                 sanitary fixtures or floor drains below      drains, rain downspouts, sump pumps
    information on all aspects of insurance.         the supercharged level.                      and any sink drains in the basement.
    Their toll free number is 1-800-232-                                                          Main sewer lines and septic
    7475.                                         Downspouts and Roof Drainage                    connections should also be considered.
                                                  • Most homes are equipped with                  These are designed to prevent sewage
• Know what your insurance company
                                                     downspouts which discharge the water         and water from backing up through
    requires should you need to make a
                                                     collected by eavestroughs directly into      these waste lines. Some backflow
    claim.
                                                     the ground. Excess water runs into the       valves operate automatically while
• Note that government disaster recovery
                                                     front street where it enters the storm       others may have to be closed by hand.
    programs will not compensate for
                                                     sewer. It is very important that this      • In most cases the backflow valves may
    damage and loss for which insurance
                                                     water does not enter the sanitary sewer.     need to be installed by a qualified
    was readily and reasonably available
                                                     If your downspout drains too close to        plumber or contractor according to
    before the disaster occurred.
                                                     the side of your house, this water can       existing building codes. Be sure you
                                                     drain into the sanitary sewer through        understand the type of backflow valves


July 2005
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    installed, including their operation and         must leave the area quickly. Keep them      Electrical Appliances
    maintenance.                                     in a waterproof and fireproof container.    • At the first warning turn off electrical
•   Your municipal office can advise on          •   Ensure that you have a portable solar,         power and leave it off. If the basement
    floodproofing in your geographic                 hand wind-up, or battery-operated radio        is already wet, be cautious. If you are
    location.                                        and spare batteries. Listen to the radio       confident that you can do it safely,
                                                     for flood advisories and warnings and          stand on a dry wooden chair or box and
Sewer Backup Protection Can Help                     follow instructions from your local            use a dry board or stick to turn off the
Talk to a qualified plumber before you               government.                                    main switch.
install any sewer backup protection devices.     •   Have a full tank of fuel in your vehicle.   • Water usually ruins electrical motors.
Plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks,            An electrical outage due to flooding           Move all portable electric heaters,
showers, floor drains and washing                    may shut down service station pumps.           power tools and electrical appliances to
machines that are set below ground level             If you don’t have personal                     a safe place.
require special protection from sewer                transportation, make alternative            • If this isn’t possible, and if you are
backup. Read about the following devices             arrangements with a neighbour.                 qualified to do so, consider removing
and decide if they can help you.
                                                 •   Stock up on food that requires little or       the motors, controls and switches from
•   Screw Cap. If you’re having trouble              no cooking or refrigeration, and gather        furnaces, refrigerators and washers.
    with your floor drains, a screw cap              emergency lighting and cooking              • If you can, consider moving all
    installed upstream of the trap seal of           equipment such as flashlights, gas             thermally insulated appliances such as
    the floor drain may be all you require.          lights, candles, camp stoves, spare            freezers and refrigerators to upper
•   A Canadian Standards Approval                    batteries, fuel and waterproof matches.        floors of the house. This precaution
    (CSA) Inline Sewer Backwater Valve               Ensure fuel is stored and handled              should save you the expense of
    should prevent sewer backup if you               properly. Keep this gear operational           replacing insulation if it gets wet.
    maintain it properly and have it checked         and within easy reach. (see Develop a
                                                     Family Emergency Plan on page 1)            Gas-fired Appliances
    regularly. Your plumber can provide you
                                                 •   Know how to use the manual override         • At the first warning of flooding, turn off
    details on maintenance.
                                                     of your garage door. Have an                   all gas-fired appliances and put out the
•   A Gate Valve. Where a backwater
                                                     emergency key release if your garage           pilot light. Then turn off the gas inlet
    valve isn’t sufficient protection, you may
                                                     door is the only access and exit to your       valve to your home, which is located at
    need a gate valve and a backwater
                                                     home. Perform a manual operation               the gas meter. This will prevent gas
    valve for basement plumbing fixtures
                                                     safety test regularly.                         from escaping when the inlet valve is
    that are subject to backflow.
                                                 •   Store water in clean containers. The           re-opened, in the event that any burner
•   Sewer Backup Insurance. This                     water supply may be contaminated               controls had been accidentally been left
    insurance is available on most policies          before it becomes necessary to                 open.
    for a small premium. Check with your             evacuate.                                   • Do not remove any gas-fired appliances
    insurance agent or broker. (See                                                                 without ensuring that the main gas inlet
                                                 •   Decide what basic supplies your family
    Insurance on page 2)                                                                            valve has been closed.
                                                     requires and stock up immediately.
                                                     Pack supplies in waterproof containers      • There should be no smoking or open
                                                     or plastic garbage bags. Essentials            flames of any kind in the area. To
                                                     include:                                       avoid causing sparks, use a flashlight
                                                     − warm clothing and waterproof                 taped in the “on” position.
                                                          rubber boots                           • For a forced air furnace, move the fan
                                                     − rain coats                                   motor and fan to a dry storage place if
FLOOD WATCH/WARNING                                  − blankets or sleeping bags in sealed          possible.
You can greatly reduce your risk of damage                plastic bags                           • Do not drain the hot water tank — it will
or loss, if you take the following precautions       − prescription medicines and first-aid         serve as ballast to secure the tank in
at the first warning of flood.                            supplies                                  place.
                                                     − personal identification for each          • If gas appliances are removed, the gas
Personal and Family Safety                                family member (name tags and              outlets should be made tight by means
• Listen to the radio for the latest storm                wallet cards                              of a plugged valve, a cap, or a plug on
   information                                       − towels, soap, personal hygiene and           the piping system.
• Be prepared to evacuate (see Develop                    toiletry items                         Plumbing
   a Family Emergency Plan on page 1)                                                            • Remove any basement toilet bowls.
                                                 PROTECTING YOUR HOME                               Plug these outlets and all other
Preparing to Evacuate                            Take special note of the preparations              basement outlets, such as floor drains,
• Prepare a list of family members’              you must take to protect your home and             sinks, laundry drains, etc., to prevent
   prescribed medications including              major electrical and gas-fired                     floodwater from entering them.
   generic names and prescribed dosage.          appliances.
   Also, list the name and telephone                                                             • Use wooden plugs or beanbags and
   numbers of your doctors. For those who        •   Know where to obtain sandbags,                 secure these outlets with plank braces
   rely on medical devices such as a                 plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber to        nailed securely to floor joists.
   pacemaker, the style, serial number,              protect your house.                         Fuel Tanks
   and other pertinent information should        •   Remove whichever household effects          • Anchor propane tanks to keep them
   be carried with you at all times.                 you can. If this is not possible, move,        from moving, even if they are full.
• Collect all vital family records kept at           possessions from the basement to an         • Turn off the tank valve.
   your home, such as mortgage papers,               upper floor.                                • Disconnect the tubing and seal the end.
   medical records, insurance policies,          •   Seal hazardous materials such as weed       • Secure the tank with heavy rope or
   marriage and birth certificates,                  killers and insecticides in plastic            chain, i.e., something heavy enough to
   passports, wills, stock and bond                  garbage bags and move them into safe           resist the force of floodwaters.
   certificates, tax records, and other              storage or dispose of them safely.
   irreplaceable items (photographs,
   heirlooms) in one central location where
   they can easily be transported if you


July 2005
                                                                     -4-
                                                  •    Farmers need to carry property            WHAT TO DO DURING A FLOOD
                                                       insurance that will protect them in the   • Listen to your radio. Important
                                                       event of major disasters such as fires      instructions for your safety and
AGRICULTURE DISASTER MANAGEMENT                        and damaging wind storms.                   information on the situation will be
                                                       Governments will not provide financial      broadcast on local stations.
Are You Covered?                                       assistance where insurance is             • If you are requested to leave the area,
Response to any disaster begins with YOU!              reasonably and readily available.           do so immediately and follow
It is necessary that you take all possible             Farmers need to take the time to            instructions issued by your municipal
precautionary measures before an                       review their policies to ensure they        officials.
emergency arises. Only if the emergency                have adequate coverage. Choosing          • Remember your neighbours,
situation exceeds your ability to respond will         not to insure major items such as           particularly the elderly. They may need
the responsibility shift to the municipal,             livestock, buildings, and machinery         your help or the assistance of municipal
provincial or federal government levels. It is         may cause unnecessary financial             emergency services.
important to note however, the government              hardship. Governments will not            • Stay out of the flooded area until the
will only provide compensation if the                  compensate farmers for losses which         municipal authority gives permission to
disaster is an extraordinary event,                    they choose not to insure.                  return.
financially devastating and most                  •    It is important to get insurance to       • Barricades are placed on roads for your
importantly, if the losses could not have              prepare for an eventual disaster and        protection. If you encounter a barricade,
been covered by insurance.                             there are other farming practices as        go another way.
                                                       well to consider. For example, the type   • Avoid standing water. It may be
Safety Net Funding                                     of crop farmers choose to seed in           electrically charged from ground or
•    Safety net funding is available to help           periods of either drought or wet            downed power lines.
     producers adopt economically viable               conditions may have an impact on the      • Do not attempt to drive over a flooded
     management practices.                             profitability of their operation. Post      road. You could be stranded.
                                                       disaster farming practices can also         Floodwaters can conceal debris or
•    Production Insurance provides Alberta
                                                       have a bearing on how well the land         areas where the road has eroded. The
     farmers with a production guarantee
                                                       recovers. For example, soil erosion         ground underneath will probably be
     on crop losses caused by natural
                                                       prevention measures against wind and        slippery.
     perils.
                                                       water will be of great benefit in         • Watch for damaged roads, loose or
•    Pasture Insurance, which offers two               preserving top soil and fertility.          downed wires and fallen objects on the
     new products - Satellite Imagery                                                              road.
     Insurance and Moisture Deficiency            What are Your Risks?
                                                                                                 • Do not drive through water unless
     Insurance - to provide producers with        The following questions can get you              you are certain the road is safe and
     more options to allow them to design         thinking about the risks you face every day      the water is no higher than the
     their insurance policy to meet their         on your farm. Consider each question in          wheels of your vehicle. Proceed
     own farm management strategies.              relation to your operation. How much loss        slowly to avoid splashing water on the
•    The Alberta Farm Development Loan            can your farm absorb or handle?                  engine and stalling it. When emerging
     Program (AFDLP), which has been              • Can you withstand a crop failure or loss       from water, drive carefully because wet
     enhanced to offer loan guarantees of             of some or all of your livestock?            brakes do not work well.
     up to $1 million for operating capital,      • Would your insurance adequately cover        • If your car stalls in rising waters, get out
     farmland purchases, improvements to              your loss of capital assets and/or           immediately and make your way to
     homes and buildings, major equipment             income in the event of a disaster?           higher ground.
     repairs and purchases, or                    • What adverse weather could affect your       • Do not attempt to cross a flowing
     consolidating other qualifying                   farm?                                        stream. You can be swept off your feet
     financing.                                   • What precautions have you taken to             by only 15 centimeters (6 inches) of
•    The Canadian Agriculture Income                  protect your family and the farm?            moving water.
     Stabilization (CAIS) Program provides        • Are you familiar with the Disaster           • Whether in a car or on foot, avoid areas
     income support to producers when, for            Services Act, the Water Act and the Soil     prone to flash flooding.
     reasons such as adverse weather and              Conservation Act?                          • Do not phone the disaster services
     market events, there is a reduction in       • Keeping in mind potential disasters,           office, police or fire department unless
     their farm margin.                               have you considered all your production      you need help or are calling on behalf
                                                      options?                                     of others requiring assistance. Your
•    More information on Agriculture
                                                  The University of Wisconsin Disaster             radio will keep you informed.
     Financial Services Corporation (AFSC)
     programs can be obtained by calling 1-       Handbook provides detailed information on      • Do not attempt search and rescue
     800-396-0215 or by accessing the             preparedness and response to floods, fire,       operations on your own.
     AFSC website at www.AFSC.ca                  drought, tornadoes, winter storms,
                                                  community/family issues. The Handbook is
•    Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural          available at
     Development administer the Alberta           http://www.cft.uwex.edu/ces/news/handb
     Drought Risk Management Program,             ook.html.
     which helps to ensure a pro-active,
     coordinated and consistent
     government response before, during
     and after a drought crisis.                                                                 Important Phone Numbers
•    Additional information can be obtained
     by calling (780) 422-9167, first by                                                         Police ____________________________
     dialing toll-free 310-0000, or by visiting
     our Ropin' the Web website at                                                               Fire ______________________________
     www.agric.gov.ab.ca
                                                                                                 Doctor ____________________________

                                                                                                 Ambulance _______________________

July 2005
                                                       -5-

___________’s work # ______________
                                             _________________________
                                             _________________________
___________’s work # ______________          _________________________
Children’s schools ________________          _________________________
__________________________________
                                             _________________________
                                             _________________________
__________________________________           _________________________
Utility companies __________________         _________________________
                                             _________________________
__________________________________
                                             _________________________
__________________________________           _________________________
Neighbours________________________           _________________________
                                             _________________________
__________________________________
                                             _________________________
__________________________________           _________________________
Other _____________________________          _________________________
                                             _________________________
__________________________________
                                             _________________________
                                             _________________________
Name, address and phone number of
an out-of-town relative or friend who        _________________________
can act as a point-of-contact.

__________________________________

__________________________________

For more information contact:
Emergency Management Alberta
14515-122 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5L 2W4
Telephone: 780 422-9000
        or 1-800-272-9600
Web site:
http://www.municipalaffairs.gov.ab.ca/ema/




 Should we have to evacuate, we
 need to take:

 _________________________
 _________________________
 _________________________
 _________________________
 _________________________
 _________________________
 _________________________
 _________________________


July 2005

				
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