TORONTO, April 16, 2014 /CNW/ - As the risk of flooding increases for communities in many parts of the country due to melting snow and forecasts for precipitation throughout the week, the Red Cross is reminding Canadians of the importance of being prepared and offering some helpful tips.
"Flood conditions already exist in many areas of the country with localized flooding occurring in some communities," says John Byrne, director general of disaster management with the Canadian Red Cross. "While the Red Cross is prepared to offer assistance to communities as needed, we also want to ensure people are thinking about their own personal preparedness and safety."
The best way to protect yourself and your family before flooding occurs is to follow these three steps:
1. Know your risks: Find out if you live in an area where floods could potentially happen.
2. Make a plan: Work with your family to make a plan so that when a flood happens, you are ready.
3. Get a kit: You can buy a preparedness kit from the Red Cross, or make your own.
When faced with potential flooding, the Red Cross recommends listening to local news and weather reports for any potential flood warnings in your area. If a flood warning is issued, listen to local authorities for further directions. Also, check on vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours (the elderly, ill, disabled) who may require special assistance.
If you are at home and flooding occurs, make sure to:
- Turn off power and gas lines, if necessary;
- Place your valuables on the upper floor of your house;
- Remain on the upper floor and wait for instructions from your local authorities.
If you are away from home:
- Stay away from swollen streams and rivers, since moving waters can sweep you away, even if you are in a car;
- Head to elevated areas;
- Remain in an area where you are visible and safe.
"Floods are one of the most common and costly disasters in Canada," says John Byrne. "Taking the steps to prepare and knowing what to do during and after a flood can minimize the impact on individuals, families and communities."
For more information on what to do before, during and after a flood, visit www.redcross.ca.
SOURCE: Canadian Red Cross
For further information: Canadian Red Cross Media Line, (613) 740-1994; Karen Snider, National Media Manager, (416) 518-2844