When it comes to natural disasters, flooding is the costliest for Canadians.
Since 2013, after the worst flash flood in Toronto history—with four inches of rain falling on Toronto in two hours—some premiums on homeowners’ insurance increased 15% to 20%.
During this time, insurers paid out roughly $1 billion to cover flood costs. Comprehensive flooding policies weren’t even available in Canada until more recently.
So, if you’ve been an unlucky target of flooding and have had to deal with flood restoration, you’re not alone.
The State of Flooding in Toronto
Between 1900 and 2005, there have been more than 240 flood disasters in Canada.
And we’re not expecting to see a decrease anytime soon.
In the next 30 years, Toronto’s maximum daily rainfall rate is forecasted to more than double, from 66mm today to 166mm.
While the prevention aspect is important, knowing what steps to take during and after a flood are crucial to keeping your home and family safe.
Because flooding is more than just an expensive inconvenience. Water damage of any kind can be detrimental to your health.
In this blog post, we will outline what steps to take before, during, and after a flood.
While the exact danger of some floods cannot be predicted, you should be prepared in the event that one should occur.
Below are prevention tips you should take once you’ve become aware that you might be hit with flooding in your area.
If you’re in an at-risk area, consider buying flood insurance.
1. Track the weather through a credible news source.
Whether you prefer an online source such as weather.com, a phone alert, a radio broadcast, or your local news station, make sure you’re up-to-date on tracking any potential flooding in your area.
2. Plan an escape route.
When it comes to a natural disaster like flooding, it’s important to move to high ground as soon as possible.
3. Know your local emergency plan.
Every town and city has a local emergency plan. Your job is to familiarize yourself with it before an emergency takes root.
For starters, know where your closest evacuation shelter is.
There are five stages involved in an urban area evacuation plan: a decision to evacuate, notification, response and withdrawal, sheltering, and re-entry.
Using this outline, we can specify these stages to the City of Toronto’s evacuation plan, as follows:
- Decision to evacuate: The decision to evacuate is made by the on-site Incident Commander, who then communicates this decision to all tactical, operational, and strategic agencies such as the police.
- Notification: Once a decision has been made, the public is then notified. The Toronto Police Service is in charge of warning the public through unified communications systems. This stage also includes notifying those managing the emergency, as well as the media.
- Response and Withdrawal: This step includes removing residents from potentially dangerous areas to a safe location.
- Sheltering: Reception centers in Toronto during emergencies are managed with the Emergency Social Services Emergency Support Function.
- Re-Entry: Municipal officials and utility companies are responsible for surveying an area. In many cases, an area must be deemed safe before residents can safely return home from evacuation shelters.
4. Pack an emergency kit.
It’s important to pack an emergency kit that will last you for 72 hours.
Some of the recommended items included in an emergency kit are water, non-perishable food and a can opener, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, cell phone with chargers, and a dust mask to help filter contaminated air.
Check here for a more comprehensive list of what should be included in your 72-hour emergency kit.
5. Prepare your home.
To prevent loss, bring in any outdoor decorations or furniture you might have.
Make sure valuable items are either taken with you when you evacuate or stored on the highest level of your home.
Disconnect all electronics, including appliances.
And, depending on whether you’re instructed to, turn off the main switch off your gas and electricity. This could prevent fires and explosions.
During a Flood
Flooding can be caused by a number of variables: heavy rainstorms and storm runoff, masses of melting ice, broken dams and levees, the list goes on.
Unfortunately, thanks to Mother Nature, these are things outside of our control.
Something we can control, however, is what we do during a flood.
One of the biggest things to remember is to not drive if you don’t have to.
Did you know that it takes only six inches of moving water to knock a person down? And it takes only two feet of water to sweep your vehicle away.
Therefore, stay away from going outside if you can avoid it.
Move to higher ground (if you’re not already on high ground). And, as mentioned above, move all valuables to the top floor to help prevent water damage.
At this phase, you’ve already been hit with flood damage and you need to invest in restoring your home.
Dealing with flood damage is enough to add stress to your daily routine. The restoration process should not be as stressful.
Flood restoration steps usually include water removal, drying out the affected rooms, scrubbing your flooring, checking and clearing gutters, spouts, and drains, and maybe even trying to salvage valuables.
It’s important to know that not all flood restoration service companies will handle the multiple steps above. To save time and money, make sure to find a credible company that does.
When it comes to flood restoration, the key is to act quickly.
Even if your water damage is minor, taking it seriously is necessary to prevent future damage such as mould growth.
Below are some steps that need to be taken during the flood restoration process.
1. Call your insurance company.
Before moving forward with anything, contact your insurance company. Discuss next steps with them so they can assist you in the process.
2. Take out any movable items.
Items such as furniture and collectibles should be moved as soon as possible. The less interference they have with water, the more likely you are to salvage them.
3. Remove water.
If you’re dealing with a few inches of water, you’ll need to invest in a wet vac. That is if you are willing to go it alone.
4. Dry it out.
To prevent mould from finding a home in your house, drying out the room is vital. This can be done with a dehumidifier and fan.
It’s also important to scrub your flooring with a disinfectant, remove all damaged items—especially those that can be at risk to your health—and put steps in place to prevent further damage.
Have a specific question or need services in the Toronto area? We’ve got you covered.