30 August 2022

Flash Flood Safety Tips: What To Do At Every Stage

Another rainy September is here (in fact, it seemed to arrive a month early) and we’ve got a few flash flood safety tips to keep in mind this season.

While you might be thinking “at least it isn’t snow”, flooding can be a real concern for many areas, even in regions where you don’t normally see it. It’s important to have a plan in place for your business (and home) in the event of an emergency. Raging water torrents can be incredibly dangerous, not to mention the possibility of costly water damage.

Before we get into the tips, let’s tackle your first question: What’s the difference between a flood and a flash flood?

Flood Vs. Flash Flood

As you probably guessed, they do have one thing in common: lots and lots (and lots) of water. However, the duration and how they start is really where the two create different kinds of problems.


In general, a flood is described as an overflow of water in an area that is normally dry. It mainly occurs due to inclement weather and is often caused by rising water in existing waterways like rivers, streams, or a drainage ditch. Floods can last anywhere from days to weeks.

Flash Flood

As the name implies, flash floods happen quickly and can be much more dangerous. They occur when a heavy amount of rainfall occurs in a short amount of time, generally less than 6 hours. They can also occur in the event of a sudden release of water due to a dam failure, ice jam, or clearing of debris.

Before A Flash Flood

While the same precautions can be taken for both types, what you do before a flash flood is extremely important due to its sudden nature. Planning ahead is crucial for ensuring everyone is safe and limiting the amount of water damage or post-flood stress you’ll encounter, for homes and businesses.

  1. Take inventory of all your belongings, preferably with photos and video.
  2. Create an evacuation plan that includes a designated meeting point.
  3. Make sure to clear drains, gutters, or anywhere else water might pool.
  4. Ensure you have a proper emergency kit ready.
  5. Make sure your downspouts are properly graded with enough clearance away from the building foundation.
  6. Assess your area’s flood risk (Canada, United States, Europe).
  7. Seal Cracks in walls.
  8. Make sure your sump pump has an automatic secondary backup.
  9. Check your insurance.
  10. Backup your data offsite
  11. Improve landscaping to increase water flow away from the building

During A Flash Flood

If you’re lucky, you might get a warning before the flash flood hits. If not, you’ll need to move fast at the first sign of water.

Important: Only complete these steps if it is safe to do so. You may need to evacuate or move to higher ground immediately.

  1. Shut off electricity, furnace, gas, and water.
  2. Disconnect appliances and raise them on wood or cement blocks
  3. Move valuables from lower floors.
  4. Listen for evacuation orders, boil-water, or other advisories.

After A Flash Flood

Once you’re cleared by the authorities and all utility providers to return home that the flash flood is over:

  1. Check for damaged floors, broken glass, or any immediate sign of danger.
  2. Remove pooled water.
  3. Clean, disinfect, and dry flooded rooms (there may be mould).
  4. Turn on fans.
  5. Take pictures and videos of all the damage.
  6. Report damage.
  7. After you have been cleared to do so by your insurance company, dispose of flood-damaged items (check local regulations).

In a perfect world, this wouldn’t happen to anybody. However, we hope these flash flooding safety tips will help.