Basement flooding – What to do

As high river water seeps into adjacent properties homeowners may be experiencing basement flooding

Late snowpack melts and the heavy rains experienced in many areas of the province are causing flooding in a number of low lying areas from rivers and tributaries that are overflowing their banks.

As water seeps into properties adjacent to waterways homeowners may be experiencing basement flooding in their house.  Beyond the cost, mess and inconvenience, basement flooding can present a number of health and safety hazards.

The Ministry of Justice Emergency Management BC says that health and safety should be your primary concern if your basement floods:

* Flooding can affect electrical and gas systems, creating the possibility for explosions or electrical shock.

* Flood water can be highly contaminated from raw sewage and other pollutants.

* Water damage may weaken walls and ceilings.

* Sludge may contain corrosive cleaning agents and irritants. Mould and mildew left behind after flooding can trigger problems for asthmatics.

Here are some tips to help you to minimize basement damage:

* If water is backing up from your building drain, do not flush the toilet, run the washing machine or dishwasher or turn on taps. Call a plumber immediately.

* To report severe flooding in your area, contact your local municipal government or Regional District.

* If you have insurance coverage, you may want to call your insurance company and report any damage. Take photographs and keep receipts for work done.

Cleaning up:

* Open windows and let in fresh air.

* Wear protective clothing – overalls, gloves, protective eyewear, rubber boots and a face mask.

* Stay clear of electrical equipment and, if possible, shut off the power.

* Remove items of value that are in, or near, the source of water.

* Fans and/or humidifiers can speed drying and reduce dampness.

For more information:

www.pep.bc.ca/hazard_preparedness/flood_tips/Floodproof.pdf

For current information on flooding: http://emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/