Floods can happen quickly and without warning at any time of the year. Learn what to do before, during and after flooding to keep yourself, your family and your property safe. 

What is a flood watch or warning?

A flood watch is issued when flooding is possible in specific areas, and a flood warning is issued when flooding is about to happen or already occurring in specific areas. Both are issued by the Credit Valley Conservation and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

If a flood warning has been issued, take action immediately to protect yourself from danger and your home from flood damage.

What to do before a flood

  • Speak to your insurance provider to find out what’s covered in your policy and if additional flood protection is available.
  • Keep a current and detailed inventory of the items you own. Doing so will make it easier to complete an insurance claim if these items get damaged.
  • For more information, visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Emergency plan

  • Develop a household emergency plan that outlines the actions you and your family need to take before, during and after a flood.
  • Review this plan with your entire household to make sure everyone knows what to do.

Emergency kits

  • Consider preparing an emergency kit with at least three days’ worth of essentials.
  • Your emergency kit should be easily accessible and easy to carry in case you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Check the City of Mississauga’s Emergency Preparedness Guide for more information about emergency kits.
  • Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors.
  • Maintain proper drainage to ensure that water flows away from the walls of your home and other buildings on your property.
  • Consider installing a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement floor drains. If you already have these devices, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to ensure they are functioning properly.
  • Clean your eavestroughs as rain can pour over the edges and spill into your basement if they are blocked.
  • Don’t store important documents or valuables in the basement.
  • Check the Region of Peel’s comprehensive Guide to Flood Prevention and Recovery for more information on how prevent damage from flooding.

What to do during a flood

Immediately evacuate your property if you’re instructed to do so by emergency officials. If an evacuation is not in effect, follow the situation-specific instructions provided to protect yourself, your family and property from the flood.

  • Stay away from fast-flowing streams, rivers and areas that are known to flood.
  • Ensure street catch basins are not blocked and keep your eavestroughs clear.
  • Move electrical appliances and other belongings above ground level.
  • Remove toxic substances, such as pesticides and insecticides, from the areas at risk of flooding to prevent contamination and pollution.
  • Make sure all basement windows are closed.
  • If a flood warning is in effect, shut off electricity to areas that are at risk of flooding.
  • If your home or basement has flooded and you’re in immediate danger or require assistance with rescue or evacuation, call 911.
  • Don’t attempt to shut off electricity if any water is present. Leave your home immediately and don’t return until authorities confirm it’s safe to do so.
  • After you have evacuated your home, if water rose above your electrical outlets, baseboard or furnace, immediately call Alectra at 1-833-253-2872 to report it.
  • Report blocked catch basins, street flooding and damaged street trees to the Citizen Contact Centre by dialling 311 or submitting a report online.
  • Report trees or branches on electrical wires or power outages to Alectra via Twitter or online.

What to do after a flood

Don’t re-enter your home if:

  • Your home or basement has flooded and the authorities have not yet advised it’s safe to do so.
  • The main power switch was not turned off before the flood and a qualified electrician has not yet determined it’s safe to return.

Upon re-entering your home:

  • Don’t use any appliances, heating, pressure or sewage system until a qualified electrician has cleaned, dried and inspected the components.
  • Ensure the main electrical panel is cleaned, dried and tested by a qualified electrician.
  • Minimize contact with floodwater or anything that has been in contact with it as floodwater can be heavily contaminated with sewage and other pollutants.
  • If possible, record details of the flood damage through photos or video recordings.
  • Register the amount of damage to your home with your insurance provider immediately.
  • Minimize contact with floodwater and items damaged by the flood.
  • Wear proper equipment such as gloves, masks, and other protection when cleaning up flooded areas and handling damaged items.
  • You may want to consider using the following equipment to help clean up, dispose of and care for items:
    • Pails
    • Mops
    • Squeegees
    • Plastic garbage bags
    • Unscented detergent
    • Large containers for soaking bedding, clothing and linens
    • Clotheslines to hang bedding, clothing and linens to dry
    • Extension cords
    • Submersible pumps
    • Wet and dry shop vacuums
    • Carbon monoxide sensor
    • Dehumidifiers, fans or heaters
  • Keep extension cords out of the water when using electrical equipment to clean up.
  • Dispose of flood-damaged items and materials. Regular waste collection schedules and operations will remain in effect.
  • You may need to hire a contractor to clean up and dispose of items and materials after a flood. Speak with your insurance representative to find out if your insurance policy covers the associated costs of post-flooding cleanup.


For more information on flood prevention and recovery, visit the following websites:

Watershed conditions

To view real-time watershed conditions, visit: