Preparedness Week is here, and Grand Forks Fire & Rescue has some flood safety-tips. Before a flood you’ll want to ensure you have appropriate insurance coverage, and have an emergency supplies kit stored in a waterproof place. You should also raise your furnace, water heater, or electrical panel if they’re in flood-prone areas of your home.

Deputy Fire Chief Richard Piché says to avoid flood waters entirely, and where flood waters have receded:

“Because it could be contaminated or electrically charged, you want to watch out for areas that flood waters may have receded and leaving weakened or collapsed roadways, so there are some things you may not be aware of you’ve got to be careful of that.”

He says if you do find yourself having to walk through water, use a stick to check the firmness of the ground ahead, and avoid moving water. Before flooding occurs you should also be prepared to evacuate, including filling your gas tank, unplugging appliances, and placing valuables higher up. You can also construct barriers to protect your building such as levees or flood walls, and seal the basement walls with waterproofing compounds.

Piché says it’s crucial you obey alerts:

“Because if you’ve been issued an order and you decide not to listen then it becomes a rescue situation right? Or now you find yourself in water where you have to have someone come rescue you, so some of those things can be avoided if you do it in a timely manor….”

If time allows, you should call someone to let them know your whereabouts during an evacuation, and check that your neighbours don’t need a ride as well.

Piché says as this week is Preparedness Week, there are relevant events and activities planned out:

“So this week we’re going to show proper sandbagging, we’re going to show what a tiger dam is, and there’s lots of other things that they’re going to be doing and talking about that are even beyond my expertise, for people who actually are experts in the field of that, so that’s why we’re doing those kinds of things.”

The fire department will be present for Friday morning’s Hot Dog BBQ, and Saturday morning’s activities. Piché adds to avoid returning home, and cooking and drinking tap water after a flood, until authorized. You should also be cautious entering buildings that may have hidden structure damage.