Getting Ready Before a Flood

If you're in an area that is prone to flooding, or you just want to be proactive, there are a number of activities you can complete to prepare for a flood.

In this section:

Other sections: Staying safe during a flood  |  Recovering after a flood


Protect Your Home & Property

There are simple steps you can take in and around your home and property to help prevent flood damage.

Here are steps everyone should take:

  • Store valuables and important items or documents in water-right containers or in higher places, like on a tall shelf or upper floor
  • Clean your gutters regularly
  • Keep nearby storm drains clear of debris
  • In the winter, clear snow at least 3-5 feet away from your home's foundation

If you can, also consider these home improvement projects:

  • Raise large appliances, furnaces, hot water heaters, and electrical panels onto wood or cement blocks above the potential water level (if an item can’t be raised, consider anchoring it and protecting it with a floodwall or shield)
  • Anchor any oil tanks or fuel supplies to the floor
  • Install backflow valves on basement floor drains, washing machine drains, toilets and sink drains
  • Install a sump pump
  • Install tiled floors with waterproof adhesive and grout
  • Install flood-resistant exterior doors
  • Raise electrical sockets on the ground floor of your home
  • Install flood-resistant drywall
  • Apply weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors
  • Install permeable paving surfaces for sidewalks and driveways
  • Make sure your gutters’ downspouts extend at least 2 metres from your basement wall. Water should drain away from your property and neighbouring properties
  • Install permanent safeguards, such as self-closing flood barriers, designed to keep water out of your home for as long as possible
  • Enhance your landscaping so water drains away from your foundation


Make an Emergency Plan

Having an emergency plan is one of the best steps you can take to prepare for a flood. An emergency plan is a playbook for how you and your household will respond to a disaster. Knowing what to do will reduce anxiety and help keep you focused and safe. You can download our emergency plan template and fill in the blanks.

Learn how to make an emergency plan


Make Grab & Go Bags

If flood waters get too close to your home, it may become unsafe to stay and you’ll need to leave quickly. This is easier to do if you take time to build grab-and-go bags in advance. Fill backpacks or carrying bags with the supplies everyone in your household will need while away from home.

Learn how to build a Grab & Go Bag


Research Insurance Options

Check with your insurance representative to determine if sewer backup and/or residential flood insurance is available for your property. You can also contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 for information regarding home insurance.

Add your insurance information to your emergency plan to ensure it’s handy when you need it.


Prepare Your Farm or Agricultural Business

Flooding can have devastating consequences for the agricultural industry. Having a response plan is critical, especially when livestock relocation may be required. It’s up to agricultural producers, like all business managers, to have a comprehensive strategy to manage the risks they face.

Emergency Management for Agriculture  Resources for Farmers & Ranchers