Floods in Ontario are a huge concern for many homeowners throughout the province. Weather patterns are changing, and average temperatures and precipitation levels are on the rise. These changes are leading to larger, more intense, and more localized rainstorms throughout Canada. As a result, floods in Ontario are becoming more common and more severe. Like the Toronto flood in August following a storm that produced over 75 mm of rain in only a few hours, and left parts of the city submerged and thousands without power.
Is your area vulnerable to flooding?
It makes sense that if your home is located in a floodplain close to a lake or river, then the risk of floods for you could be greater. However, there are different types of flood risks to consider. For example, urban floods in Ontario are caused by the limited capacity of existing storm-water systems. These types of floods have become increasingly common in recent years, and often result in flooded streets, basements, and flooding of other low lying urban areas.
GTA residents at greater risk
More densely populated areas like the GTA are at a higher risk for flash floods. Buildings, highways, driveways, and parking lots increase runoff by reducing the amount of rain absorbed by the ground. This runoff increases the potential for flash flooding like the ones we witnessed in Toronto last month.
Be prepared for floods in Ontario
Get your family ready by putting together an emergency safety kit with these 7 essential items:
We can’t live without it. Put away at least six litres of water for each person in the family (don’t forget your pets!). This should supply enough water three full days. Remember to include small bottles that can be carried easily in case your family is forced to evacuate.
Although we can survive longer without food than water, it’s still a good idea to set aside enough food to feed your family and pets for 3 days. Good choices include peanut butter, crackers, trail mix, cereal, protein bars, canned meat and canned vegetables.
Manual Can Opener
This one just makes sense. If you’re food supply contains cans, you need a can opener. And having one that doesn’t require electricity is a great idea.
Although you could use a battery powered radio, a hand-crank radio is the smartest choice. This will allow you to access emergency messages and broadcasts with critical updates. You can even find some crank radios that also have a built-in flashlight!
Injuries are common during the panic and chaos of flooding and other disasters. Make sure you have a quality first-aid kit that includes essential supplies to treat cuts, scrapes, swelling, and sprains.
If the power goes out, you’ll definitely want to have a reliable flashlight. The best option is hand-crank flashlight, but if you are stuck with a standard flashlight, then make sure you have a good supply of batteries as well.
This one really could save your life! In a disaster or emergency, there is always a chance you will need to signal for help. Blowing a shrill safety whistle could help rescuers locate you and your family when trapped.
It’s important to take the proper steps to ensure you and your family are ready to take on an emergency situation. For more detailed information on flood safety, check out our post on how to Stay Safe During and After a Flood.
What will insurance cover?
The most important thing to understand when it comes to what water damage is covered by your insurance policy is – every policy is different! Most basic home insurance policies in Ontario will cover basic water losses such as burst pipes, and sudden escape of water from containers such as hot water heaters, washing machines, swimming pools, etc.
Coverage you should consider adding
Overland Flood Protection
Provides coverage for damage caused by overflow of a lake or river, heavy rain or rapid snow-melt that enters your home from at or above ground level.
When water backs-up from municipal sewers, or your septic system, sewer back-up coverage kicks in to help cover the damages.
This protects you from damage caused by water that enters your home at or below the surface of the ground. This includes sudden and accidental water damage through basement walls, foundations or floors.