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Floods

A heavy rainfall can result in flooding, particularly when the ground is still frozen or already saturated from previous storms. Floods may also result if heavy rain coincides with the spring thaw.

Flash flooding—in which warning time is extremely limited—can be caused by earthquakes, tsunamis or tidal waves, hurricanes, violent storms or bursting of dams.

*Please call the City of Moncton’s Dispatch line at 506-859-2643 to report a flood or an immediate danger of flooding.

We recommend that you download the following 2-page handout: My house has been flooded-What do I do first?

Also available : The Homeowner's Guide to Flood Protection

Preparing for a Flood | During a Flood | After a Flood | Clean-up

Preparing for a Flood

The best way to minimize flood damage is to take precautions ahead of time, especially if you live in a flood-prone area. Although governments at every level work to reduce the risk of floods, you are the first line of defense.

To reduce the likelihood of flood damage: 

  • Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors. 
  • Install the drainage for downspouts a sufficient distance from your residence to ensure that water moves away from the building. 
  • Consider installing a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement floor drains.

If a flood is forecast:

  • Turn off basement furnaces and the outside gas valve. 
  • Special precautions should be taken to safeguard electrical, natural gas or propane heating equipment. 
  • If there is enough time, consult your supplier for instructions on how to proceed.

When there is immediate danger of flooding:

Call NB Power

NB Power asks the public to contact them immediately before attempting anything. Every occurence is different and residents must not assume they can resolve an electricity-related problem by themselves as there can be important safety issues. NB Power will know how to deal with your specific situation. For power outage, call NB Power at 1-800-442-4424 and for any other electricity-related problem, call 1-800-663-6272. For more information, visit the NB Power website.

Also, contact NB Power before proceeding with either of the following two actions:

  • Shut off the electricity. 
  • If the area around the fuse box or circuit breaker is wet, stand on a dry board and shut off the power with a dry wooden stick. 

Other things you can do...

  • Try to move furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings to floors above ground level. 
  • Remove toxic substances such as pesticides and insecticides from the flood area to prevent pollution. 
  • Remove toilet bowls and plug basement sewer drains and toilet connections with a wooden stopper. 
  • Disconnect eavestroughs if they are connected to the house sewer. 

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During a Flood 

What Should You Do If the Power Goes Out?  - Call NB Power

NB Power asks the public to contact them immediately before attempting anything. Every occurence is different and residents must not assume they can resolve an electricity-related problem by themselves as there can be important safety issues. NB Power will know how to deal with your specific situation. For power outage, call NB Power at 1-800-442-4424 and for any other electricity-related problem, call 1-800-663-6272. For more information, visit the NB Power website.

Call the City of Moncton’s Dispatch line at 506-859-2643 to report a flood or an immediate danger of flooding.

Keep your radio on to find out what areas are affected, as well as what roads are safe, where to go and what to do if the local emergency team asks you to leave your home.  Important: Never cross a flooded area. See also: Evacuation Tips.

  • If you are on foot, the fast water could sweep you away. 
  • If you are in a car, try not to drive through flood waters or underpasses. The water may be deeper than it looks and you could get stuck or your car could be swept away by fast water. You may also want to avoid crossing bridges if the water is high and flowing quickly. 
  • If you are caught in fast-rising waters and your car stalls, leave it and save yourself and your passengers.

We recommend that you download the following 2-page handout: My house has been flooded-What do I do first

 

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After a Flood 

Following a flood, it is important to restore your home to good order as soon as possible to protect your health and prevent further damage to the house and its contents. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has prepared a checklist to help organize your clean-up. It is also available by calling 1-800-668-2642 (outside Canada call 613-748-2003).

Household items that have been flood-damaged will have to be discarded. Contact the City of Moncton at 859-2643 if you have any questions about proper disposal.

Be cautious when re-entering your home. Avoid electrical shock by wearing rubber boots in any area flooded with more than five centimetres (two inches) of standing water.

Electricity

Call NB Power - NB Power asks the public to contact them immediately before attempting anything. Every occurence is different and residents must not assume they can resolve an electricity-related problem by themselves as there can be important safety issues. NB Power will know how to deal with your specific situation. For power outage, call NB Power at 1-800-442-4424 and for any other electricity-related problem, call 1-800-663-6272. For more information, visit the NB Power website.

Ensure building safety

Make sure the building is structurally safe. Look for buckled walls or floors. Watch for holes in the floor, broken glass and other potentially dangerous debris.

Water

  • Flood water can be heavily contaminated with sewage and other pollutants, posing a serious health hazard. 
  • If through colour, odour, or taste you suspect that your drinking water has been contaminated, purify it before drinking. 
  • Household items that have been flood-damaged will have to be discarded according to local regulations.

Recommended equipment 

  • Gloves 
  • Masks and other protective gear 
  • Pails, mops and squeegees 
  • Plastic garbage bags 
  • Unscented detergent 
  • Large containers for soaking bedding, clothing and linens, and clothes lines to hang them to dry

Store all valuable papers that have been damaged in a freezer until they are needed.

Record details of flood damage by photograph or video, if possible. Register the amount of damage to your home with both your insurance agent and the municipality (City of Moncton Dispatch – 859-2643) immediately.

Depending on your situation, you may need to rent additional equipment such as extension cords, submersible pumps, wet/dry shop vacuums, a carbon monoxide sensor and dehumidifiers, fans or heaters.

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Clean-up

Water 

Remove water from your flooded home slowly. Drain it in stages — about one third of the volume daily — because if the ground is still saturated and water is removed too quickly, the walls or the floor could buckle. Use pumps or pails to remove standing water, then a wet/dry shop vacuum to mop up the rest. For instructions on how to disinfect and restore wells and cisterns, contact your local or provincial health authorities or emergency management organization.

Heating

Do not heat your home to more than 4º Celsius (about 40º Fahrenheit) until all of the water is removed.

If you use pumps or heaters powered by gasoline, kerosene or propane, buy and install a carbon monoxide sensor. Combustion devices can produce large amounts of lethal carbon monoxide if they're not tuned-up or are improperly ventilated.

Dirt and debris 

  • Remove all soaked and dirty materials as well as debris. 
  • Break out walls and remove drywall, wood panelling and insulation at least 50 centimetres (20 inches) above the high-water line. 
  • Remove residual mud and soil, furniture, appliances, clothing and bedding. 
  • Hose down any dirt sticking to walls and solid-wood furniture then rinse several times. 
  • Wash and wipe down all surfaces and structures with unscented detergent and water. Rinse.

Structures

  • Ventilate or dehumidify the house until it is completely dry. 
  • Tape clear food wrap to sections of material. If these sections are still damp inside, they will turn darker than the surrounding material. Dry until this no longer occurs. 
  • Rinse and clean all floors as quickly as possible. 
  • Replace flooring that has been deeply penetrated by flood water or sewage. 
  • Clean all interior wall and floor cavities with a solution of water and unscented detergent.

Mould

Mould can lead to serious health problems. If mould is present, wear a face mask and disposable gloves. To minimize mould growth, move items to a cool, dry area within 48 hours and set up fans. Alternatively, textiles, furs, paper and books can be frozen. Wet mould will smear if wiped. Let it dry and then brush it off outdoors. Materials not affected by alcohol can be lightly misted with rubbing alcohol to kill mould spores.

Floor coverings

Carpets must be dried within the first two days. For large areas, hire a qualified professional to do the job. Carpets soaked with sewage must be discarded immediately.

Water-damaged heirlooms and antiques

  • Act quickly to prevent further damage. 
  • Wet items will be heavy and fragile so keep them well supported when handling, drying or freezing.
  • elocate items to a cool, dry location. 
  • Books, documents and textiles can be placed in a freezer until they can be properly treated. 
  • Consult a conservator before attempting repairs. 
  • If items are contaminated with sewage, take proper health precautions.

Dirt

Items that are saturated with dirt can be rinsed with clean water if they are strong enough to withstand it; exceptions are paper, fragile items, items with loose parts or soluble paints and adhesives. If items are just damp, let the mud dry and then brush it off.

Tips and precautions for specific items

  • Furs: Blot gently with towels to remove excess water. Air-dry or freeze. 
  • Textiles: Rinse until the water runs clear. Air-dry, or bag and freeze. 
  • Upholstered furniture: Remove cushions and dry separately. Do not remove upholstery. Raise furniture on blocks and place fans underneath. 
  • Wooden furniture: Remove drawers and open doors. Do not dry quickly or splitting may occur. 
  • Books: Do not squeeze. Fan open and air-dry, using electric fans, or freeze. 
  • Framed items: Remove from frame and air-dry. 
  • Glossy paper: Do not allow it to dry or the pages will stick together. Freeze immediately. 
  • Paintings: Do not remove canvas paintings from their stretchers. Do not freeze. 
  • Contemporary photographs, negatives and slides: Remove from mounts or plastic sleeves and air-dry. If stuck together, do not force apart.

What to keep or discard

Flooding can disrupt water purification and sewage disposal systems, cause toxic waste sites to overflow and dislodge chemicals previously stored above ground. For this reason, floodwaters are often contaminated with infectious organisms. Although most floods do not cause serious outbreaks of infectious disease or chemical poisonings, they can cause sickness. It is very important to maintain good hygiene during cleanup, and to make every effort to minimize contact with floodwaters or anything that may have been in contact with them.

  • Remove and replace all insulation materials and other articles that have been soaked including particleboard furniture, mattresses, box springs, stuffed toys, pillows as well as furniture coverings, padding and cushions. 
  • Frames on high-quality furniture can often be saved. However, they must first be cleaned, disinfected and rinsed, then dried by ventilation away from direct sunlight or heat. Drying too quickly can cause warping and cracking. 
  • Scrape heavy dirt from washable clothes. Rinse and wash them several times with detergent and dry quickly. 
  • Consult your lawyer to determine whether flood-damaged documents, or just the information in them, must be retained. 
  • The yard area should also be cleared of all debris and refuse which can provide a breeding ground for bacteria and mould. 
  • Keep children away from contaminated areas during cleanup operations.

Before moving back in

Once the flood waters have receded, you must not live in your house until:

  • The regular water supply has been inspected and officially declared safe for use. 
  • Every flood-contaminated room has been thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and surface-dried. 
  • All contaminated dishes and utensils have been thoroughly washed and disinfected — either by using boiling water or by using a sterilizing solution of one part chlorine bleach to four parts water. Rinse dishes and utensils thoroughly. 
  • Adequate toilet facilities are available. (For more information, consult your local health authority.) 

Heating systems and appliances

  • Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse-breaker panels until they have been checked by your local utility. 
  • Whether you use a wood, gas or electrical heating system, ensure that it has been thoroughly inspected by a qualified technician before using it again. If they have been soaked, replace the furnace blower motor, switches and controls. Flooded forced-air heating ducts and return-duct pans should be either cleaned or replaced. 
  • Replace filters and insulation inside furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators and freezers if they have been wet. However, it is often cheaper to replace this equipment.

Floor drains

Flush and disinfect floor drains and sump pumps with detergent and water. Scrub them to remove greasy dirt and grime. Clean or replace footing drains outside the foundation when they are clogged. Consult a professional for advice or service.

Food

All undamaged canned goods must be thoroughly washed and disinfected. Dispose of all medicines, cosmetics and other toiletries.

Dispose of any of the following food items if they have been exposed to flood waters: 

  • The contents of your freezer or refrigerator including all meats and all fresh fruit and vegetables. 
  • All boxed foods. 
  • All bottled drinks and products in jars, including home preserves, since the area under the seal of jars and bottles cannot be properly disinfected. 
  • Cans with large dents or that reveal seepage.

Reminder: Anything that stays wet long enough will grow mould. Mould can make people sick so dry everything quickly to avoid future health problems.

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