Be Prepared. It's not just a good motto for the Boy Scouts, it's also a good idea when it comes to natural disasters, storms and water damage. Here are some suggestions from the Insurance Bureau of Canada that you can put in place to help you, your family and your home be disaster ready.
- Move valuable items out of the basement to upper floors.
- Use water resistant building materials in areas below ground level.
- Install a sump pump, preferably on with a back-up generator.
- Install backwater valves. Check with your municipality first and see if they offer any incentives for installation.
- Raise appliances, furnaces, hot water heaters and electrical panels up on wood or cement blocks if possible. If the item can't be raised consider anchoring it and protecting with a floodwall or shield.
- Anchor fuel tanks, such as oil, to the floor to avoid them tipping over or floating during a flood. Make sure vents and fill-line openings are above flood level. If you use propane, check with the propane company prior to anchoring.
- Install flood shields or built-up barriers for basement windows and doors. Make sure the tops of the shields extend above ground level.
- If flooding is imminent, shut off electricity to the areas of the home that might be affected.
- Ensure proper lot grading. If possible, build up the ground around your house so water can drain away from your basement walls.
- Check sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways to make sure they haven't settled over time and are causing water to drain toward the house.
- Landscape with native plants and vegetation that resist soil erosion.
- Clear snow away from the house foundation. If the ground is sloped one inch per foot near house, moving the snow back just 3-5 feet will reduce problems.
- Keep snow and water out of window wells. Inexpensive window well covers are very effective.
- Make sure downspouts extend at least six feet from your basement wall. Water should drain away from your house and neighbouring homes toward the street, backyard or back lane.
- Use a rain barrel to catch water runoff.
When disaster strikes things tend to be out of our control but with a little preparation you can minimize the damage to your home and the disruption to your family.