Be flood prepared

Spring emergency preparedness tip:

Are you ready for spring freshet?

  • Floods are common and can happen any time of year. Current average snowpack levels for the region are 118% of normal. This represents an increased risk of seasonal flooding during freshet. However, snowpack is only one element of seasonal flood risk in BC. Spring weather is a critical factor determining the snow melts, and extreme rainfall can also cause spring flooding.  
  • For more information on current conditions and snowpack/water levels, take a look at the Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin for April 1st from our partners at the BC River Forecast Centre: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/air-land-water/water/river-forecast/2020_apr1.pdf

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. 

Find out more from FloodSmart Canada: http://floodsmartcanada.ca/

In the Kootenays, snowpack and weather-related events, including flooding, are common occurrences in the spring. The RDCK is asking residents and visitors to take the following steps to be flood prepared:

Have a household emergency plan. A plan will help you and your family be prepared in an emergency. Keep the plan in an easy-to-find spot, review it regularly, and practice it with your family.

Prepare an emergency kit. An emergency kit contains essential supplies, critical information and personal items—such as eyeglasses and medications—stored in an accessible spot, that you can easily grab and go.

Take steps to protect your home and property. Residents are responsible for securing their home and property in the event of a disaster—sand bagging is one example. In advance of the freshet/flooding season, Emergency Management BC provides sand bags to residents if the need becomes apparent.

Sign up for the RDCK Emergency Notification System. If you haven’t already, please sign up to recieve notification in the event of an evacuation order or need to shelter-in-place in your area: https://rdckemergency.connectrocket.com/.

Stay in the know. In potentially life-threatening circumstances, the RDCK—with the support of Emergency Management BC—may issue and Evacuation Alert or an Evacuation Order to residents living in a flood hazard area. Any Evacuation Alerts or Orders will be communicated through the RDCK Emergency Notification System, as well as via our website and Facebook page, and through local media. In the event of a flood or other emergency, stay tuned in to your local radio station.


In advance of the freshet/flooding season, Emergency Management BC provides sandbags to residents if the need becomes apparent. In such cases, unfilled sandbags and sand would be available for residents who are experiencing or want to be prepared for flooding. Information about where to pick up sandbags and sand will be shared with residents when needed.

Learn more about sandbagging from the PreparedBC.

Sandbag and Sand Locations:

  • Balfour Fire Hall - 308 Beggs Rd. | Contact: Pat Hergott 250-551-7283
  • Crescent Valley Fire Hall - 1365 Hwy. 6 | Contact: Ryan Duran 250-505-4776
  • Harrop Fire Hall - 6430 Harrop Procter Rd. | Contact: Pat Hergott 250-551-7283
  • Kaslo Fire Hall - 529 Arena Avenue | Contact: Doug Yee 250-505-8175
  • Meadow Creek - LVCC - 13429 Highway 31 | Contact: George Nenzel 250-366-4119
  • North Shore Fire Hall -  2703 Greenwood Road | Contact: Jay Marshall 250-354-9349
  • Passmore Fire Hall - 3725 HWY 6 Passmore | Contact: Peter Kabel  250-551-5134 / 250-359-7944
  • Riondel Fire Hall - 237 Fowler Riondel | Contact: Cory Medhurst 250-551-1352 / 250-227-6896
  • Robson Fire Hall - 3037 waldie ave. | Contact: Jeff Grant 250-304-8223
  • Silverton - 410 Hume st. Silverton | Contact: Leonard Casley 250-551-4003
  • Slocan Fire Hall: 8877 Slocan St. South, Slocan | Contact: John Gates 250-355-2672 / 250-354-9789
  • Tarrys Fire Hall -2103 Hwy 3A, Castlegar | Contact: Greg Patterson 250-551-4100
  • Salmo - 319 Fourth Street (by the Ball Diamonds) | Contact: Village office 250-357-9433
  • Winlaw Fire Hall - 5741 Hwy 6 Winlaw | Contact: Steph Whitney 250-226-6744

Debris flows

Debris flows are fast-moving mixtures of water, sediment, boulders and logs that flow down steep mountain creeks. Debris flows have caused fatalities, near misses and significant property damage in the Kootenays.

Important phone numbers and websites

To report flooding, potential flooding or landslides:

  • Call the 24/7 Provincial Emergency Reporting Number (Emergency Management BC – Emergency Coordination Centre): 1-800-663-3456
  • Report unusually dirty or muddy water immediately

For information on flood preparedness, how to build a sand bag, how to develop a household emergency plan, what to include in an emergency kit, and much more:

Visit the RDCK website for freshet/flooding information bulletins (when applicable), at www.rdck.ca.

The content on this page was last updated May 12 2020 at 10:55 AM