Flooding: A Guide for Property Owners

Dealing with floods

There are a number of shoreline and low-lying areas in Haldimand County that are at risk of flooding. While there are limits to what can be done to prevent flooding, there are steps that property owners can take to manage the risks that floods pose to people and properties.

Haldimand County works with three conservation authorities to warn residents about floods and to help keep people safe when flooding occurs. Floods can occur at any time of year. The impacted areas are not only at risk from extreme rainfall events, but are also vulnerable to high winds and wave action causing erosion and property damage.

This online guide provides key information for property owners who live in flood-prone areas including: how to prepare for a flood, what to do during & after a flood, important contacts & other helpful resources.

To find out if your property is vulnerable to flooding, launch the Lake Erie Flood Zone Property Lookup tool.

Who should I contact?

If you are facing an emergency, dial 9-1-1. 
9‑1‑1 is for police, fire or medical emergencies when immediate action is required. During a flood, dial 9-1-1 only if you feel your safety is at risk.

To report a public roadway obstruction (e.g: downed tree, water over the road or debris blocking a roadway) DURING regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm), call 905-318-5932 or report it online.

To report a public roadway obstruction AFTER regular business hours, call 1-888-849-7345.

To report a sewer, water, park or public facility emergency DURING regular business hours, call 905-318-5932 or report it online.

To report a sewer, water, park or public facility emergency AFTER regular business hours, call 1-888-849-7345.

If you see a downed power line caused by a storm or accident, maintain a distance of 10 metres or more and report it to both 911 and Hydro One at 1-800-434-1235.

If you are experiencing a power outage, call Hydro One’s 24/7 province-wide outage hotline at 1-800-434-1235. You can view Hydro One’s live outage map which includes restoration time information.

• Know where your property is located in relation to the Lake Erie flood warning zones.

• Prepare an Emergency Plan that can be initiated should you need to evacuate during a flood emergency.

• Have a 72-hour Emergency Kit (“Go Bag”) that includes essentials your family may need. Remember to include items like medications, items for pets, etc.

• Visit haldimandcounty.ca/emergency-preparedness for information on how to prepare an Emergency Plan and 72-hour Emergency Kit.

• Consider installing a sump pump and backflow preventer in basement floor drains, and consider having a portable generator and pump available.

• Move important items away from areas that may be subject to flooding to upper levels.

• Consult your electricity and fuel suppliers (oil, natural gas, propane) for instructions on how to safely shut down and protect furnaces and other equipment, and the steps that need to be taken after a flood before restarting equipment.

• In the winter months, drain the pipes and shut off the water supply to help prevent pipes from freezing.

• Consider installing storm shutters on windows.

• Speak with your property insurer about insurance options.

• Watch for flood warnings and advisories on television, radio (92.9 The Grand FM), social media & websites including Haldimand County’s and the conservation authorities’ (grandriver.ca, lprca.on.ca, npca.ca).

• Follow Haldimand County on Twitter and Facebook for important flood-related messages

• Follow the instructions of emergency response officials, such as police, fire and municipal staff.

• Remove valuable items from the basement and lower levels.

• If you have a generator and/or portable pump, test them and have fuel on hand. (Only use fuel-burning generators outdoors in well ventilated areas away from building openings.)

• Make sure your sump pump is working.

• Follow the instructions from your utility supplier (gas, electrical, propane, etc.) to safely shut down and protect furnaces and other appliances.

• Prepare to evacuate if necessary. Collect essential items such as cash, medication, important papers, identification and change of clothes. Consider evacuating your residence if streets in your neighborhood are flooded. Emergency vehicles (fire trucks, ambulance, police cars, etc.) may not be able to get to your home.

• Resist the urge to tour flooded areas. You may be putting your own life at risk and could interfere with the work of emergency responders.

• Ensure your pets are not left alone during a flood by taking them to a kennel or leaving them with family and friends.

• If a road has been closed, obey the signs and take alternate routes. It is an offence to drive on a closed road and could void your insurance.

• Do not return home until authorities advise it is safe. Check the Haldimand County website or Twitter/Facebook page for specific instructions and post-flood updates.

• Report broken or downed utility lines. If you see a downed power line caused by a storm or flood event, maintain a distance of 10 metres or more and report it to Hydro One at 1-800-434-1235.

• Consult your insurer about steps to take if your property is flooded.

• Exercise caution when re-entering your home. If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so.

• If your main electrical panel was under water, it must be cleaned, dried and tested by a qualified electrician to determine if it is safe. Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse breaker panels until they have been checked by the power company.

• If natural gas lines were under water, contact your gas supplier before resuming service. If natural gas appliances were under water, have them checked by an approved heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor.

• If your well has been affected by flood waters, it is recommended that you boil your water for at least one minute at a rolling boil, or purchase water from a safe source. Before resuming normal use of the well, have the water tested for possible bacteria and pollutants. Water sample bottles can be picked up at any Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit office and have their well water tested free of charge.

There are several things you can do to stay informed when flooding is possible or occurring in Haldimand County:

• Visit Haldimand County’s website & social media feeds: haldimandcounty.ca, Twitter @HaldimandCounty, and Facebook (Haldimand County). During a flood event, the most up-to-date information will be posted on these channels.

• Visit the conservation authorities’ websites and social media feeds.

Grand River Conservation Authority 
Long Point Region Conservation Authority
Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

• Monitor the media. Both Haldimand County & conservation authority flood messages are distributed to area TV stations, radio stations and newspapers for broadcast and publication. 92.9 The Grand FM is Haldimand County’s official emergency information broadcast partner.

Certain areas of Haldimand County are at a greater risk of flooding. You can look up your property using the Flood Zone Property Lookup tool. If your property falls within a numbered Flood Zone, it is important you remember this number and pay close attention to flood messages that may affect your zone. Flood warnings and evacuation notices refer to these zones.

The Lake Erie Flood Zone Property Lookup tool will also indicate which conservation authority jurisdiction you are in.

Conservation authorities are watershed-based resource management agencies, whose mandate includes a variety of roles and responsibilities in the land use planning and development process. Conservation Authorities responsibilities include ensuring new development is not at risk from natural hazards such as flooding or erosion and they aim to protect and restore the ecological health and integrity of natural systems.

There are 3 conservation authorities who make up 3 unique jurisdictions in Haldimand. View the conservation authority boundary map. 

As Regulators

Conservation Authorities are empowered by the Conservation Authorities Act to regulate development and activities in or adjacent to river or stream valleys, Great Lakes and large inland lakes’ shorelines, watercourses, hazardous lands and wetlands.

They also regulate the straightening, changing, diverting or interfering in any way with the existing channel of a river, creek, stream or wetland. This work is to ensure that development taking place on these lands is protected from flooding, erosion, dynamic beaches and pollution, and that the conservation of land is not affected by development.

As Commenting Agencies

As “public bodies”, Conservation Authorities are notified of policy documents, and planning or development applications, and use their local watershed expertise to provide input to provincial and municipal policy documents and applications submitted under the Planning Act.

Conservation Authorities have provincially delegated responsibilities to represent provincial interests regarding natural hazards under the Provincial Policy Statement.

As Landowners

Conservation Authorities are the second largest landowners in Ontario, next to the province. They manage over 146,000 hectares of natural features and systems comprised of wetlands, forests, moraines, lakes, rivers, streams, species at risk habitat, etc.

As landowners, Conservation Authorities may become involved in the planning and development process either as an adjacent landowner or as a proponent.

As Technical Advisors for Municipalities

Conservation Authorities often provide technical advice to municipalities through service agreements which may include activities such as natural heritage systems planning. They often provide advice on stormwater management, and the protection of natural features and functions.

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