Preparing for a flood

Floods can occur in all seasons. They usually occur during spring thaw and during heavy rain. You can limit the damage and inconvenience by performing certain actions.

On this page:

What to do before a flood
What to do in the event of a flood alert
What to do during a flood
What to do after a flood

What to do before a flood

  • Prepare an emergency kit for the house.
  • Prepare a family emergency plan.
  • Check if your house is located in a flood zone.
  • If you live by the river, stay alert to the weather forecast so you can react quickly if conditions deteriorate.
  • Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself.
  • Ask your insurer about your home protection in the event of a flood.

In the event of a flood alert

  • If you live near a watercourse, monitor the levels and flows of the watercourses on the Vigilance site (available in French only).
  • If you live by the river, consult the tide tables.
  • Follow the social media of the municipality and Emergency Quebec and listen to the regional media for the current situation and the measures to take.
  • In the event of a storm surge or surge, protect windows facing the river with wooden panels.
  • Store objects off the floor in the basement or on the ground floor.
  • Keep chemicals and harmful products out of the reach of children (e.g. insecticides, waste oil residues).
  • Block the basement sewer lines if there is no check valve.
  • Plug the drain in the basement.
  • Remove or secure bulky objects on the ground so that they are not thrown or carried away by water.
  • If the water threatens to enter your home, turn off the power and turn off the gas to avoid the risk of electric shock or fire.
  • Close the valves on the propane cylinders and tanks as well as the valve located at the outlet of the oil tank.
  • Install sandbags and polyethylene membranes in front of each entrance and opening (door, garage, coping) when the measure is recommended by the municipality. Ask the Town for information on how to get sandbags and follow the guide: Installing a sandbag dam (in French only).

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What to do during a flood

  • Follow the evolution of the situation and respect the instructions given by official sources of information (e.g. the Town, the government of Québec).
  • Inform the authorities of any dangerous situation (e.g. heavy objects transported by water).

Electricity and natural gas

  • Caution! If water enters your home, do not turn off the power yourself. Immediately contact Hydro-Québec to have the service interrupted.
  • If you smell gas or your natural gas equipment is broken, contact your natural gas distributor.
  • If you are using a generator, follow the rules for installing and using your generator.

Watch out for carbon monoxide

  • Never use indoor devices outdoors (e.g. charcoal or propane barbecues, camping equipment). These devices can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, a toxic gas that cannot be seen or felt. Breathing carbon monoxide can be very dangerous to your health and can even lead to death.
  • Only a carbon monoxide detector can detect the presence of this gas. Leave the room immediately if the detector goes off. Call 911. Wait for permission from a firefighter to return inside, even for a few minutes.

Water consumption and use

Take certain precautions before consuming or using water:

  • If the water is coming from a water system, consider the water to be potable unless you have been told otherwise by Town officials. If in doubt about the colour, smell or taste of water, contact the Town before consuming it.
  • If the water comes from an individual well, consider the water unsafe, that is, unsafe to drink, even if it appears clear and odourless. Until you know your well water is up to standard, boil it well for a minute before drinking it. You can also use bottled water.
  • If you suspect chemical contamination, do not drink the water. In addition, it is not advisable to boil water when it has been exposed to chemical contamination, especially by hydrocarbons. In this situation, only bottled water is recommended.

Food and medicine

  • In the event of a power failure, inspect your food before consuming it. Throw away any food that shows signs of spoilage. Panne de courant et alimentation – quoi garder et quoi jeter (what to keep and what to throw away after a power outage – in French only) for proper sorting in your fridge and freezer.
  • Do not consume medicines that should be kept in the refrigerator. Return them to the pharmacy.

Septic systems

Take some precautions to ensure the compliance of your septic systems (in French only).

Evacuation and movement

  • If you are in danger or the authorities request it, leave the house.
  • Before leaving, take the essential items with you for each member of your family:
    • medication;
    • hygiene articles;
    • spare clothes;
    • blankets;
    • money;
    • pieces of identity;
    • car and house keys;
    • baby milk, bottles and diapers;
    • electronic devices and accessories for their connection;
    • items necessary for the well-being of people with special needs.
  • Ensure your pets are safe.
  • Avoid travelling on foot or in a vehicle on flooded roads. If you must use a vehicle, drive carefully and do not hesitate to abandon it if the engine stalls.
  • Before hitting the road, find out about road conditions by visiting the Québec 511 website, or by phone by dialling 511.
  • Inform your loved ones and the Town of where you will be staying.

Communications

Keep in touch with your loved ones, preferably using text messages, emails and social media posts. This will leave the telephone network free for urgent calls and emergency responder calls.

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What to do after a flood

  • If the authorities allow it and your safety is not compromised, you can return home. Do it by day, as it will be easier to see the problems and dangers. Visit the When to return home page for security tips and recommendations.
  • Make an inventory of water damage, with photos or videos to support it:
  • Inform the Town, your insurer and the financial institution that granted you a mortgage.
  • Keep all receipts and proof of purchase of damaged goods for your claims.
  • Report any anomalies on your property to the Town (e.g. cracks on a slope, bulge on a slope, landslide, unusual flow of water in an embankment) to prevent the risk of landslides.

Be attentive to your reactions after having experienced a disaster

  • anxiety;
  • lack of interest or energy;
  • aggressiveness;
  • increased consumption of alcohol or drugs.

Appropriate psychological support can help to cope with the responsibilities that arise from the situation. Contact Info-Santé at 811 and choose the Info-Social option to speak to a social worker. This confidential service is offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Electricity and natural gas

  • If the service has been interrupted by Hydro-Québec, only a master electrician can restore it.
  • If the house has not been flooded, Hydro-Québec will do an on-site verification before restoring power. Contact Hydro-Québec to request one.
  • If service has not been interrupted, but water has seeped into the house, consult a master electrician before restoring power. They will tell you what condition your installation is in and will carry out the work necessary to restore it.
  • Consult a specialist before restarting the furnace or any other heating devices.
  • Consult a contractor who has a natural gas qualification certificate, before reconnecting your natural gas installations.

Water consumption

  • Check if the water is potable, that is, safe to drink. If in doubt about the colour, smell or taste of the water, contact the municipal authorities before using it.
  • Consider water from an individual well to be unsafe, that is, unsafe to drink. Disinfect an individual well and have the well water analyzed before consumption.

Food and medicine

  • After a power outage of more than six hours, ensure the quality of your food before consuming it. Throw away any food that shows signs of spoilage. Check the page: Panne de courant et alimentation – quoi garder et quoi jeter (what to keep and what to throw away after a power outage – in French only) to properly clean out your fridge and freezer.
  • Throw out all food stored at room temperature (e.g. canned food, peanut butter, muffins, crackers) that have been in contact with floodwater.
  • Follow the following recommendations before consuming your canned goods:
  • Inspect the cans and discard any that are spoiled. By damaged can is meant a can which has swollen, leaks, is punctured, has holes, is broken or is heavily rusted. It can also be crushed or pushed enough to prevent normal layering or opening with a manual can opener.
  • Clean, rinse and dry the cans before opening them.
  • Check that the food looks normal when the can is opened.
  • Do not consume medicines that have been left in your refrigerator for more than six hours. Return them to the pharmacy.
  • Do not consume medicines that have been in contact with flood water or that have traces of moisture on their containers. If in doubt, consult a pharmacist.

Fruits and vegetables from the garden

  • If your vegetable garden has been flooded, throw away fruits, vegetables and herbs that have grown above-ground, such as strawberries or lettuce.
  • Thoroughly clean root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots.

House cleaning

After removing the water or as soon as you return home after an evacuation, clean your home, disinfect and dry all objects and surfaces. This will prevent the development of mould and many other problems that can affect your health.

Cleaning the property

  • Warning! Never approach an electric wire that has fallen to the ground. Call 911 immediately. When a wire hits the ground, there is a high risk that it is under tension, and so is the surrounding soil.
  • Carefully remove all debris from the property.
  • If you see a wire or cable from a telecommunications service on the floor, contact the supplier.
  • Check with your municipality for the necessary permits before undertaking embankment, excavation or stabilization of an embankment work.
  • Manage your residual materials by respecting the prescribed standards.

If you need to remove a dead animal (e.g. stranded fish), do the following:

  • Pick it up with a shovel or disposable gloves, then place it in a strong plastic bag. Close the bag tightly before placing it in a second bag and closing it securely.
  • Put it in the trash you usually use for the waste collection service.
  • Clean what you used to handle the animal and wash your hands with warm water and soap.
  • Contact the Town if you find the body of an animal too large to be put in a plastic bag.

Flooded vehicles

In no case put a flood-damaged road vehicle back into circulation, including a motorbike or recreational vehicle (e.g. motor home, trailer).

How do you know if you are eligible for financial assistance?

Consult the list of eligible events (in French only) and the financial assistance and compensation program. (in French only)

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