Calgary had little warning about the current flooding, though record-setting rainfall was unexpected and the ground was saturated.

As reported by CBC, those factors were aggravated by the fact areas were still frozen below the surface. Not to mention, the province has sloping geography that encourages water to run downhill.

And while many in Calgary have been allowed to return home, residents in Medicine Hat are bracing for potential disaster as water levels rise on the South Saskatchewan River.

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Colin Robertson, VP of risk control at Ecclesiastical Insurance, says,“The damage caused by flood water entering a property can be devastating. When it comes to mitigating loss, having clearly defined disaster recovery, business continuity and crisis communications plans is paramount.”

Here are some pre- and post-flood tips:

  • Check insurance coverage, both buildings and contents, to confirm you’re covered for flooding, and also that the values of both have been reviewed
  • Make sure someone who has easy access to your property knows how to turn off gas, electricity and water main switches. Mark appropriate switches.
  • Prepare a contact list and communication plan
  • Consider what items need to be moved out of your premises. If that isn’t an option, move items to an upper floor above anticipated flood levels
  • Plug sinks, basins and baths, and weigh plugs down with a sandbag or heavy object
  • Once floodwaters have subsided, take caution when again entering your property
  • If your electricity supply is not already switched off at the main intake, get a qualified and licensed electrician to perform the action
  • You can use a pump on generator to get water out of your premises. Position the generator outside and only pump out when the flood levels outside the property are lower than inside, which helps reduce structural damage
  • Shovel any mud away from both sides of a wall, evenly. This also reduces the potential for pressure to build up and possible structural damage
  • If drying the property naturally, keep all doors and windows open as much as possible. If dehumidifiers are used, however, close them.

Once you contact your insurance company, they’ll often “send an independent loss adjuster to assess the damage and coordinate the cleanup process,” says Robertson.

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