Preparing for Floods

If you own property or live in a floodplain, here are some steps you can take to deal with flooding.

Prepare your property

  • Consider installing a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement floor drains.
  • Consider having a portable generator and pump available.
  • Move important items that may be subject to flooding to upper levels.
  • Consult your electricity and fuel suppliers (oil, natural gas, propane) for instructions on how to safely shut down and protect furnaces and other equipment, and the steps that need to be taken after a flood before restarting equipment.
  • Consult your property insurer about steps you should take if your property is flooded.

When a flood is imminent or occurring

  • Listen to warnings and advisories on television and radio or through media websites
  • Check the News page of our website for flood messages.
  • Follow the instructions of emergency response officials, such as police, fire and municipal staff.
  • Remove valuable items from the basement and lower levels.
  • If you have a generator and/or portable pump, test them and have fuel on hand.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working.
  • Follow the instructions from your utility supplier (gas, electrical, propane, etc.) to safely shut down and protect furnaces and other appliances.
  • Prepare to evacuate if necessary. Collect necessary items such as cash, medication, important papers, identification and change of clothes. Consider evacuating your residence if streets in your neighborhood are flooded. Emergency vehicles (ambulance, police cars, etc.) may not be able to get to your home.
  • Resist the urge to tour flooded areas. You may be putting your own life at risk and could interfere with the work of emergency responders.
  • Ensure your pets are not left alone during a flood by taking them to a kennel or leaving them with family and friends.
  • If a road has been closed, obey the signs and take alternate routes. It is an offense to drive on a closed road and could void your insurance.

After a flood

  • Do not return home until authorities advise it is safe.
  • Report broken utility lines.
  • Consult your insurer about steps to take if your property is flooded.
  • If you suspect your building has suffered structural damage, contact the building department for your municipality.
  • Exercise caution when re-entering your home. If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so.
  • If your main electrical panel was under water, it must be cleaned, dried and tested by a qualified electrician to determine if it is safe. Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse breaker panels until they have been checked by the power company.
  • If natural gas lines were under water, contact your gas supplier before resuming service. If natural gas appliances were under water, have them checked by an approved heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor.
  • The water in your home could be contaminated with sewage and other pollutants. Contact Peterborough Public Health for instructions.