How to prepare for potential floods in Alberta this rain season

Click to play video: 'How to prepare for potential floods this rain season'
How to prepare for potential floods this rain season
It’s dry now in the southern Alberta region, but as spring continues, the area will see its rainy season soon. Taz Dhaliwal speaks to experts about the risks of potential flooding and what residents can do to help prepare themselves. – Apr 9, 2021

Flooding has been impacting homes in Canada more frequently and intensely in recent years, according to federal government officials, and now the spring flood season is upon Albertans.

Read more: ‘100-year floods’ are increasing in Canada due to climate change, officials say — is this true?

A recent study conducted by RSA insurance group and WWF-Canada found that 37 per cent of Canadians don’t know how to protect their homes from flooding, however 83 per cent do believe having an emergency preparedness plan is critical.

“There’s a bit of a gap between the knowledge and preparedness around flooding and being in a place you’re able to evacuate,” said Simon Mitchell, vice president of Resilient Habitats with WWF-Canada.

Read more: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tours flooded Fort McMurray, offers support

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Through RSA Canada’s funding, WWF-Canada is working to collaborate with community partners to assess vulnerabilities and develop adaptation plans, which include restoring ecosystems and building natural infrastructure.

Mitchell said there are many things residents can do to close that gap and prepare for the worst when it comes to heavy rainfall.

“Have an evacuation kit and evacuation plan in place… being sure to clean out your eavestrough twice a year to make sure there are no leaves or debris there that will hold water against the house,” Mitchell said.

“You also need to make sure that water is draining away from the house and foundation.”

Mitchell goes on to say having a garden and trees around your home can also help absorb extra rain water.

Click to play video: 'May rainfall causing some overland flooding concerns in southern Alberta'
May rainfall causing some overland flooding concerns in southern Alberta

Luke Palmer, emergency preparedness manager at the City of Lethbridge, also has some helpful tips for how people can protect their homes.

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“Checking on your sump pump. I think one of the most critical pieces is that your house is actually able to pump away that water from your foundation and keep it safe,” Palmer said.

“So, it’s paying attention to the river forecast and knowing what to do,” he said.

Read more: May rainfall causing some concern for overland flooding in southern Alberta

In addition to encouraging residents to keep an eye on their homes, Palmer explains what kinds of details an evacuation plan should include.

“If you’re spread out through the city, how are you reuniting? Where are you meeting if you need to evacuate? And obviously, if you’re moving to a reception centre, how are you communicating that out?” Palmer asks.

“And… we want to make sure that the 72-hour kit is a very critical tool associated with that,” he adds.

Mitchell said as May and June are approaching, the region could once again witness high-intensity, multiple-day rain events.

He also says people can download the Alberta Emergency App in order to receive alerts, recommendations and more information from the city for when the next potential or active climate emergency may take place.

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