Get Prepared for a Flood in British Columbia

An illustration of a flood

Flooding is a common, naturally occurring event in B.C. Although it can happen at any time of year, the most severe floods typically occur in spring due to heavy rain and snowmelt. This seasonal flooding is known as freshet.

Floods can also be caused by storm surges, ice jams or damage to structures like dikes or dams. Depending on the type and severity of flooding, it could take hours, weeks and potentially months for the water to recede. 

It’s important to take time to prepare and understand what to do before, during and after a major flood. Download the PreparedBC: Flood Information for Homeowners and Home Buyers guide (PDF, 2.22MB) to learn about protecting your home and property. 

Flood Information Guide (PDF, 2.22MB)

What to do Before a Flood

  • Flood waters can rise quickly. Be ready by developing your emergency plan, putting together your grab-and-go bags and connecting with your neighbours (PDF, 2.55MB).
  • Check with your insurance representative to determine if sewer backup and/or residential flood insurance is available for your property.
  • Depending on the severity of flooding, local authorities may issue an evacuation alert or order. It's important to understand the difference.


You are at risk. Leave the area immediately. You are encouraged to register all family members at the nearest reception centre so emergency responders know you are safe.


Be ready to leave on short notice. This is the time to gather your grab-and-go bags and ensure your vehicle has fuel. If you leave before or during this alert, it’s called a voluntary evacuation.


All is currently safe and you can return home. Stay tuned for other possible evacuation alerts or orders.

What to do During a Flood

If you face a threatening flood situation:

  • Park vehicles away from streams and waterways.
  • Do not walk or drive through flood waters.
  • Raise electrical appliances.
  • Move valuable and special items to upper floors.
  • Anchor fuel supplies.
  • Listen to local officials if you are asked to evacuate.

What to do After a Flood

  • Following a flood, it is important to restore your home as soon as possible so your health is protected and further damage to your house and its contents is prevented.
  • Once your home is safe to enter, follow the steps in the Flood Clean Up Guide (PDF, 185 KB).This document is also available in in Punjabi and Chinese.

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