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Flash Flood Safety Rules

Floods are the most dangerous and the most common natural disasters in North America. Flash floods are among the most deadly as they can come without warning and leave people caught unaware. Attempts to arrange flood damage restoration or industrial flood cleanups come secondary to your own safety. More than anything else, we at Flood Services Canada want you to be safe and secure during these potentially violent weather events.

Watch the Skies

Following weather reports is always a great way to stay on top of current conditions. But don’t rely on them exclusively. Weather can change, broadcasts can be missed, and the storm itself could make it hard to learn about evacuation orders or flood warnings. Some personal prudence will be helpful to notice developing flood conditions so you can take steps before the water begins overflowing. Unusually hard rain over several hours or sustained rain over several days can both create flash flood conditions. If you are near a stream or river, look to see if the water level has risen. If it has, assume a flood is likely.

Turn Around, Don’t Drown

The only thing worse than a death is a preventable one. Over half of all flood-related drownings happen when people try to drive through flood waters. The second-highest cause is trying to walk through them. Never underestimate the power water can wield—six inches of fast-moving water can knock an adult over. Twelve inches are capable of carrying away most cars. This is on top of the already-present hazard of slipping or losing control of your vehicle on wet paths and roadways.

If the area around your car begins to flood, leave and proceed on foot immediately. If you must pass through a flooded area, only do so if the water is not moving. Never try and cross moving water. Whenever possible, use a stick or pole to probe ahead of you to test both the depth of the water and the stability of the ground.

Should the situation arise where you must drive, exercise a high degree of caution. Never drive through flooded roads, as the depth of the water is not always immediately obvious. Should you encounter a barricade, find another route. Barricades are erected for your protection. If one is up, there is a very good reason for it.

Don’t Wait

Depending on the terrain, a flash flood can occur with minimal warning. In hilly regions, for instance, distant rain can be channeled through ravines to create a fierce torrent in a matter of minutes. If you notice the signs of a flood, move to high ground immediately. Do not wait for a weather report or an evacuation order.

You First, Possessions Second

Much like in the event of a house fire, your personal safety is more important than any of your valuables. There will be plenty of time to call a flood damage restoration company after the weather calms. So watch the skies, don’t wait, and please turn around and don’t drown so you can make it through safely. Look to our website at floodservices.ca for more guides to flood management and planning.

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Chad Vanvari

Chad Vanvari has over 20 years of experience as a cleaning & restoration professional. He started out in Montreal, establishing a commercial carpet cleaning company in the early 1990’s. By 2001, Chad had relocated to Toronto and now had extensive knowledge and experience in responding to fire/water related emergencies. He has been instrumental in the cleanup of several catastrophic floods. Currently, Chad is the president and owner of Flood Services Canada, a 24/7 emergency service restoration company.