“If you’re waking up to a flooded basement, please remember that electricity and water don’t mix. Don’t use flooded appliances, outlets, switches or breaker panels until they have been checked by a qualified electrician,” a Tweet by Toronto Hydro read.
The heavy downpour produced between 70 and 110 millimetres of rain in parts of Toronto over a two-hour span — Global News meteorologist Ross Hull said the normal rainfall amount for the entire month of August is 78.1 millimetres.
City of Toronto officials said the first thing a resident should do if their house is flooded, is contact Toronto Hydro to disconnect the power.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) warned homeowners not to turn on any electronics or touch any outlets until an electrician has had the opportunity to survey the situation.
The IBC also warned residents who have gas services, to check for fumes -if there is an odour, the gas company should be called immediately.
Once the damage has been assessed by a qualified electrician, home owners can then begin to protect and/or save their property and any valuables that may have been damaged or remain underwater.
“Board up holes or shut off water supplies to ensure your belongings are not damaged further. Move items out of wet basements and away from flooded parts of your home. Save receipts for materials you use,” the IBC said, adding homeowners should contact their insurance company immediately.
There are also health hazards that homeowners should be mindful about in the case of flooding.
“Homeowners may be exposed to waterborne diseases, corrosive cleaning agents and irritants found in leftover sludge from a flooded basement,” city officials said.
According to the city of Toronto website, in the wake of flooding, residents should:
- Consider hiring a professional cleaning company familiar with cleaning sewage-contaminated basements.
- Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.
- Dress appropriately – wear full-length clothing, gloves, protective eyeglasses, rubber boots and a mask.
- Wash all surfaces with hot water and liquid detergent, rinse and thoroughly dry and ventilate the area.
- Sanitize walls and floors using a solution of household bleach (mix 1 cup bleach with 5 gallons of water).
- Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
- Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent.
- Discard any packaged or non-packaged food items that may have come in contact with the flood waters.
- Discard all contaminated items that cannot be washed and disinfected (i.e. textiles).
To help protect homes from flooding, the IBC said homeowners should keep eavestroughs clear, ensure there is proper grading so water would drain away from the home, and ensure downspouts extend at least six feet from the basement wall. Homeowners should also create an inventory of the valuables in their home and make sure they are stored away from areas that could be prone to flooding.
All residents in the home should also be taught how to shut off the electricity.
WATCH: Toronto residents battle flooded streets after deluge of rain