Be flood prepared

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, is a common occurrence 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 go to this link to recieve instant notifications in the event of an evacuation 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.


Unfilled sandbags and sand are available for residents who are experiencing or want to be prepared for flooding. Find the location nearest you in this Sandbag Inventory List for 2018 [PDF - 193 KB].

Sand and sandbags are provided free to residents for the purpose of protecting their homes, and is not intended to protect shoreline. There is a limited supply of sandbags so residents are asked to please take only what they need.

PreparedBC has tips for filling and placing sandbags. Check out a video and print instructions on their website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-the-risks/floods

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 November 21 2018 at 12:48 PM