The fact that this week is Emergency Preparedness Week (May 5-11) may seem cold comfort to people who have been evacuated after rivers have flooded Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario due to snowmelt, rain and increased river levels. Nevertheless, it is an appropriate time for businesses and homeowners to think about disaster preparedness and how increasing catastrophic events will affect them.
This year, FirstOnSite Restoration, a company that has responded to every catastrophic event across the country over the last decade, has conducted an emergency awareness/preparedness survey.
Flooding among Canadians is a main disaster concern
When asked how concerned they were about different types of disasters, seven-in-10 respondents listed flooding (68%) which was statistically tied for top concern along with home fires, winter storms and wildfires. Rounding out the list of top concerns were earthquakes (41%) and hurricanes (37%).
Regional flooding concerns were highest in Quebec (81%) where several communities including greater Montreal have been ravaged by this year’s spring floods. Manitoba (79%) and Ontario (70%) were the other two regions that topped the national level of concern. The number was lowest in Alberta where only half of residents are concerned about flooding.
Six-in-10 Canadians had experienced some type of flooding (58%)
16 per cent of respondents had experienced overland flooding, the type we’re seeing in the news (where flooding from outside seeps in through windows, doors and cracks). Meanwhile 27 per cent of respondents had experienced a pipe burst and 26 per cent had experienced a leak in the foundation. Not all disasters are natural.
Mould tops the lists of flooding concerns
When asked people’s level of concern for specific scenarios due to flooding, mould topped the list
· 77% of respondents were concerned about mould
· 70% were concerned about loss of valuables
· 67% were concerned about major renovations
· 63% were concerned about leaving their homes
· 59% were concerned about personal safety
· 56% were concerned about their level of preparedness in the event of a flood
· 54% were concerned about a damaged roof
With the magnitude of recent catastrophic weather-related events, it’s an apt time to prepare for what lays ahead.
Here are several ways to protect properties against flood damage, whether commercial or residential.
Flooding prevention tips
1. Waterproof your basement, fill any cracks in the foundation, and put weather protection sealant around windows and the base of ground-level doors. Install flood shields or barriers for basement windows and doors.
2. Clear debris from your roof and eavestroughs so that they drain properly during heavy rains. Downspouts should extend at least six feet from the basement wall, well away from your and neighbouring properties.
3. Install backflow valves for drains, toilets and other sewer connections in the basement. These valves automatically close if water or sewage backs up from the main sewer.
4. Turn off the electricity in flood-prone areas of the property if a flood is expected in your area.
5. Talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance. Standard residential insurance may not cover floods caused by water overflowing from lakes, rivers and other bodies of water (called overland flooding) but may be available separately. For business owners, flood insurance could be available as an add-on coverage to commercial property or to business interruption insurance policies. Commercial sewer backup coverage may also available but usually purchased separately.