Steps to take after a basement flood
A residential guide to flood prevention and recovery
To report flooding on roads and in your neighbourhood please call 3-1-1. In Caledon, call 905-584-2272, ext. 4238.
If you think there’s a problem with your sanitary sewer pipe, you can request emergency help with a sewer backup.
What to do if your basement floods
If you have insurance, immediately contact your insurer. They will recommend a qualified contractor to evaluate and restore any damages.
If you don’t have insurance, consider contacting a restoration contractor. An experienced contractor can help evaluate the damages and advise you on what to do next.
Watch for hazards
- Watch for electrical hazards around the affected area since water conducts electricity.
- Watch for health hazards around the affected area. Water can carry bacteria that may affect health. Wear proper safety clothing.
Remove water and book an inspection
- Pump out or drain any standing water. Your insurer may suggest a company to provide this service.
- Find an accredited restoration contractor to inspect or remove building finishes and contents that have been under water or have absorbed water.
- If the water has been standing for a long period of time, it is recommended that you remove and dispose of materials at least 50 cm (20 in) above the high-water line to help prevent mould growth.
- Try to prevent mould from growing by properly drying areas and objects that have water damage.
Throw away contaminated food
When in doubt, throw it out!
Throw away any food that has come in contact with flood waters (except for some canned goods). Washing or cooking the food will not make it safe for eating.
The power can be out for a long time during and a flood. With no power to operate your refrigerator and freezer, perishable foods could spoil, putting you and your family at risk for food-borne illnesses.
For more information on how to keep your food safe, refer to food safety in an emergency.
Drink only bottled or boiled water
Do not drink any water that could have been contaminated by flood water.
Water treatment systems may not be fully working during power failures, which could affect water quality.
Always use clean water for drinking, brushing your teeth, cooking, bathing, and cleaning dishes. If necessary, Peel Public Health will issue a “boil water advisory.”
If the drinking water source is polluted or chemically contaminated, use bottled water.
If the water is not contaminated with sewage or chemicals, bring it to a rapid boil for at least one minute to make it safe for drinking.
If boiling water is not practical, make the water safe to drink by adding 2 drops (0.1 mL) of chlorine bleach per litre of water, mixing, and then letting it let stand for at least 30 minutes.For more information, refer to:
- Emergency disinfection of drinking water
- How to prepare and store powdered infant formula during an emergency
If your well has been flooded, you may need to pump out the contaminated water and shock chlorinate the well before using it.
Do not drink the well water or use it for food preparation until lab tests show that it’s safe to drink.
What you can do to protect your property
Protect your home and the sanitary system:
- Check your insurance policy. Home insurance policies do not always include “Sewer back-up” or “Broad Water” coverage, so be sure that your property is completely covered.
- Ensure that your lot grading directs water away from your foundation.
- Repair any cracks or holes in the basement walls or floors.
- Disconnect downspouts to send water onto your lawn and away from your home.
- Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater.
- Remove things that could collapse or damage your pipes, such as tree roots.
- Keep fats, oils, greases, and other small items out of your drain. These items can accumulate and cause blockages.
Get more details on preventing and recovering from flooding:
- Understanding types of flooding and basement flood reduction
- Understanding the difference between sanitary and storms systems