City of Toronto flooding precautions



    TORONTO, June 27 /CNW/ - Environment Canada has issued a severe
thunderstorm watch for the city of Toronto due to the potential development of
severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, and the possibility of large
hail and damaging winds. In addition, the Toronto and Region Conservation
Authority has issued a high water safety bulletin warning against dangerous
conditions as a result of increased flows and water levels in the city's
rivers and streams.
    The City of Toronto encourages residents and businesses to take
precautionary steps to protect their property and ensure their safety. High
winds and thunderstorms can contribute to flooding and downed trees and power
lines. Residents are advised to stay away from rivers and streams, and downed
wires and trees that may have an electrical charge. For the most up-to-date
weather information, visit Environment Canada's website at
www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/index.html.

    
    Protect your property

    The City of Toronto advises residents and businesses to take precautions
and protect their properties from possible flooding:

    -   make sure your disconnected downspouts are draining properly, ideally
        1.8 meters (six feet) from your basement walls
    -   as a future measure, consider disconnecting your downspouts from the
        sewer system by calling the Downspout Disconnection Program at 416-
        392-1807
    -   be sure the grading around your home drains water away from all
        exterior walls
    -   check for and fix leaks in basement walls, floors, windows and
        foundations
    -   clear eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves and other debris
        preventing proper drainage
    -   repair or replace damaged weeping tile systems
    -   rake leaves away from sewer catch basins and other outside drains
    -   have a plumber or drain company inspect your home's flood-proofing
        devices, including back-water valves, sump pumps, floor drains or
        caps, to ensure they are working properly
    -   do not pour grease down drains or flush food or other objects down
        toilets as this will block sewer connections causing sewers to backup
        during rain storms
    -   for future reference, consider soft-surface landscaping that allows
        storm water to soak into the ground rather than run directly into the
        local sewer systems, such as increased sodded areas and porous
        pavement
    -   ensure your flood insurance is up to date.

    In the event of a flooded basement:
    -   call the City of Toronto at 416-338-8888 immediately to report a
        blocked basement drain or sewer back-up, or for information or
        assistance with a blocked drain, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.
        During extreme weather conditions residents should expect high call
        volumes. Calls will be answered by the first available agent.
    -   call your insurance company as soon as possible to report property
        damage caused by flooding
    -   be mindful of your health and safety when cleaning up a flooded
        basement - do not stand in flood water, call a professional for
        assistance.
    

    More information about basement flooding is available on the City of
Toronto's website at www.toronto.ca/water/index.htm.

    Personal preparedness

    Being prepared for emergencies such as hurricanes or floods can
significantly reduce damage inflicted on your property. With the associated
risks of flooded basements and power failures, residents should be ready to be
self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own
shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation.

    As part of emergency planning, all Toronto residents should have a
three-day supply on hand for each family member of the following items:

    
    -   drinking water (keep water in containers and fill your bathtub)
    -   canned food and a manual can opener
    -   batteries for flashlights and radios
    -   a first aid kit
    -   gasoline for your car
    -   a transistor radio
    -   cash.
    Residents are reminded to:
    -   keep cell phone batteries charged
    -   know the locations of all electrical panels, and water and gas
        shutoff valves in your home
    -   keep flashlights where you can find them in the dark
    -   consider using surge protectors to protect sensitive electronic
        equipment.
    There are several ways homeowners can protect themselves and their
    families in the event of a flood:
    -   try to remain indoors and move valuable objects out of your basement
        to avoid water damage
    -   turn off your basement furnace, outside gas valve, and shut off the
        electricity
    -   stay out of the basement if flooding is imminent
    -   try to limit your driving, especially in low-lying areas where
        flooding is known to occur
    -   exercise caution when driving and avoid low lying roadways and
        underpasses; do not drive through deep water
    -   if your car gets caught in a flood path, get out of the car and sit
        on the hood if it is not possible to walk or swim away
    

    For more information and advice about emergency preparedness contact the
City of Toronto's Office of Emergency Management at 416-392-4554, or visit
www.toronto.ca/oem.
    Residents should call 9-1-1 for emergencies only, including downed power
lines. For all other incidents where police are required, call the
non-emergency number: 416-808-2222.
    Report flooded or damaged expressways by calling 416-392-5555, 24
hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.
    Report road and sidewalk problems to 416-338-9999, during regular
business hours.
    Report damage to City trees by calling 416-338-TREE (8733) and press the
number 2 on the touchtone keypad. The same number can be used after business
hours - follow the instructions to obtain an emergency dispatcher. For damaged
trees on private property, residents should obtain a private tree service
company, some of whom are listed in the Yellow Pages.
    As a result of steady or heavy rainfall, including thunderstorms, water
levels and flows in the city's rivers and streams may be higher than normal.
Due to high water levels, fast flows, and soft and slippery bank, all rivers
and streams should be considered dangerous. Residents are advised to stay away
from all watercourses and ensure children are kept inside where they can be
supervised.

    Tips for Power Outages

    Your patience is needed and appreciated during weather-related power
outages. Toronto Hydro will work to restore power as quickly as possible.

    
    During an outage:
    -   unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power
        resumes
    -   turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in
        use when the power goes out
    -   leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored
    -   when power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none
        have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro
    -   plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15
        minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before
        connecting everything else.

    How to report a power outage:
    -   call Toronto Hydro-Electric System's Lights Out number at 416-542-
        8000. Add the number to your list of other emergency numbers.

    Food Safety

    During a power failure, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may
become unsafe to eat. The following tips will help ensure food is stored
safely in the event of a power outage:
    -   keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature
        inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool
        for four to six hours - if the door is kept closed.
    -   throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and
        leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4degreesC for more
        than two hours
    -   keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside.
        Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full
        will keep food frozen for about 48 hours - if the door is kept
        closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
    -   foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still
        contain ice crystals or are at 4degreesC or below - evaluate each
        item separately
    -   partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food,
        but food will remain safe to eat
    -   if possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep
        temperatures cooler for a longer period
    -   discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into
        contact with raw meat juices
    -   if you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it
        out
    -   contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper
        storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin.
    

    For more information about when to keep and when to throw out
refrigerated foods, visit
www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html.

    Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine
of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America.
In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and
innovation in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to
prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

    
                     Visit our website at www.toronto.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Rob Andrusevich, Strategic
Communications, (416) 397-4149, (416) 200-3660 (cell)


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