Monday May 16, 2011

Local News

Flood Proof Your Home

Electricity and water don't mix

Releases by BC Hydro and the BC Gov't


he Province recognizes its responsibilities in providing useful information to the public and local governments about preparing for and responding to disasters which may threaten life and property.

In an emergency, local governments respond first, but may call upon other levels of government to provide additional support. Every level of government has its share of responsibility for public safety and assistance to those impacted by disasters.

The Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) helps municipalities develop and maintain a high level of emergency preparedness, response and recovery capabilities. Volunteer organizations and public safety lifeline volunteers in communities throughout the province play an important role in helping communities achieve their emergency preparedness responsibilities.

At one time or another, residents in B.C. may find that their family home and property are threatened by one of a variety of natural disasters such as earthquakes, mud slides, tsunamis, violent storms or floods.

This information intended for use by individuals should their home be threatened by a flooding situation represents general tips for consideration and is provided to help residents of B.C. be better prepared to deal with the perils of flooding. The following suggestions apply when there is immediate danger of flooding.


Sandbag Dikes

Construction of a sandbag dike requires special procedures to achieve maximum strength and effectiveness. Should you choose to construct a sandbag dike to protect your property in the event of a flood, the following tips may be useful.

Strip the sod or ground cover beneath the area for the proposed dike and dig a "bonding trench" one sack in depth and two sacks wide as a foundation for the dike structure.

To effectively provide protection from the forces of flooding water a dike must be three times as wide at its base as it is high. A dike intended to be one metre high should have a three metre wide base.

Sandbags should never be filled more than half-full and must be laid in alternating crisscross directions. The base level should be laid parallel to the flow of the water, the second level should be laid perpendicular to the flow, with the third level again laid parallel, continuing to the intended height of the dike. Each successive layer is set back one-half sandbag width on both sides in each additional layer. A side view of a completed dike would show a triangular cross section.

Individual bags need not be tied shut. Overlapping by successive bags will hold the sand in place. The method of keeping bag contents in place is called "lapping."

As individual bags are put in place, each must be tamped firmly to ensure maximum performance and strength in the finished dike.

Additional Consideration For Householders

Additional considerations for householders to help prevent flood damage include:

  • If eavestroughs are connected to the house sewer system, disconnect them and re-channel the flow to points more than 1.5 metres from the building's foundations. This will help reduce the flow of water into the community sewage system.

  • Dangerous chemicals such as weed killer, insecticides and corrosives should be removed to dry areas to reduce the dangers of chemical contamination, fires, explosions and personal injuries.

  • Buoyant materials should be removed from the basement to lessen the potential for damage to first floor components of the structure should the basement flood..

  • If you plug the basement sewer, be sure to remove the toilet bowl from any basement bathroom and plug that sewer drain securely as well.

  • For additional information on preparing your household for flooding, you may wish to ask the assistance of a professional plumber.

  • Know that your drinking water may become contaminated. Follow the instructions of health authorities.

  • Electrical Power Disconnect Safety

    Get information about electrical safety  or 

    An additional precaution you should consider if involved in rescue work, or if you are returning to property abandoned during a flood, concerns possible submerged electrical cables. In some flooded areas water levels may reach or submerge power-bearing electrical cables. Extreme caution must be exercised.

    If your home is threatened by immediate flooding, it is important not only to be prepared for the first line of flooding, but to make as many preparations as possible for the return to normal living once the flood has subsided.

    If there is time

  • You may consider moving some appliances above the anticipated flood level.

  • All insulation of any thermally insulated appliances must be properly repaired or replaced before operation if the appliances have been partially or completed submerged. These appliances include: water heaters, refrigerators, freezers and ranges.

  • Electric baseboard heaters and portable heaters must be moved above water level. It is doubtful such items could be rendered safe for operation once submerged.

  • Portable electric appliances such as kitchen blenders and mixers, as well as power tools must be kept dry, or not operated until completely dried, cleaned and overhauled.

  • Radios, televisions, stereo systems and other home electronic systems should be moved above the flood level. Repairs to such items following submersion is not practical.

  • In order to prevent fires or dangerous short circuits all wiring in homes and other buildings which have been partially or completely flooded must be inspected before being placed back in service.


    Automobiles, Trucks, Farm Equipment - Diesel or Gas

    If time allows, move all vehicles, recreational vehicles, farm equipment and other modes of transportation with gasoline or diesel engines to high ground. Local officials and emergency personnel will provide up-to-date information concerning anticipated flood crests. Listen to the local media for updates. If the equipment can not be moved, then seal it as much as possible.