Be flood prepared

Emergency preparedness tip for March 14, 2019: The weather forecast is calling for warming temperatures this weekend and into next week. We can expect significant snow melt, especially in low-lying areas. Melting snow will result in rising creeks, streams and rivers across the region, and potential pooling where water can’t seep through the still-frozen topsoil. While we don’t anticipate any major flooding of rivers in the coming weeks, now is a good time to think about being flood prepared.


What you can do: Take a moment to have a look at the storm infrastructure around your home including your evestroughs and driveway culverts. You can also visit PreparedBC’s website for more tips on protecting your home and property from potential floods: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-the-risks/floods 

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 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 March 14 2019 at 1:08 PM