Floods are the most frequent natural hazards in Canada, and the most costly in terms of property damage.
Floods can occur in any region, in the countryside or in cities.
In the past, floods have affected hundreds of thousands of Canadians. They can occur at any time of the year and are most often caused by heavy rainfall, rapid melting of a thick snow pack, ice jams, or more rarely, the failure of a natural or human-made dam.
All Canadian rivers experience flooding at one time or another.
The potential for flood damage is particularly high where there is development on low-lying, flood-prone lands.
Flash or sudden flooding, in which warning time is extremely limited, can result from other causes such as hurricanes, violent rainstorms, or the bursting of dams.
Though all levels of government are working to reduce the impact of floods, individuals also play an important role. Everyone has a responsibility to protect their homes and their families.
You can greatly lessen the impact of a flood by taking the time to prepare in advance. This involves three basic steps:
1. Find out what to do before, during, and after a flood.
2. Make a family emergency plan, so that everyone knows what to do, and where to go in case of an emergency.
3. Get an emergency kit, so that you and your family can be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours during a flood.