Floodwater can cause damage to your home and yard. To make sure you stay safe and ensure the longevity of your property, follow standard advice and recommendations when carrying out necessary clean-up work.
Clean your home
Within 24 to 48 hours after a flood or as soon as you return home after an evacuation, you must clean, disinfect and dry all objects and all surfaces that were damaged by water, in particular to avoid the growth of mould.
For effective and safe cleaning, make sure that you take the following steps in order:
- Wear the necessary protection equipment (mask, rubber gloves and boots, protective clothing and glasses) so that water and soiled materials do not come in contact with the skin, respiratory tracts, eyes or mouth.
- Open the windows and doors to air out the rooms and lower the humidity to less than 50 %.
- Surfaces and objects that may have been in contact with soiled water should be washed with ammonia-free soap and clean hot water. Rinse with clean water. While cleaning, make sure that you:
Disinfect surfaces and objects that may have been in contact with soiled water. Do this with a mixture of water and bleach. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other detergents. Depending on the surfaces to disinfect, mix the recommended quantity of bleach and water. Consult the following table for the required quantity of bleach at 5 % or 6 % concentration.
- Discard all porous materials (carpets, insulation, gypsum plasterboard, etc.) that are damp or that were in contact with flood water. Also discard any objects that cannot be adequately cleaned or whose stuffing was soaked (mattresses, pillows, cushions, stuffed toys, etc.) in order to prevent mould from developing or to prevent exposure to certain microorganisms.
- Open the walls and remove drywall, paneling and insulation to at least 50 centimeters (20 inches) above the high-water line. Wait for everything to dry before repairing.
- Discard all appliances with filters or insulation if they were in contact with water (refrigerator, freezer, water heater, dishwasher, etc.).
- Discard food that was in contact with flood water. Discard any damaged, open or bulging food tins.
- Discard cosmetics and other toiletries that may have been in contact with flood water.
- Discard wooden cutting boards, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers that may have been in contact with flood water.
- Take medication that may have been in contact with flood water to the pharmacy. They will properly dispose of it.
- During the cleanup, change your clothing every day and wash it separately from other clothes.
Allow washed and disinfected surfaces and objects to air dry.
- Surfaces and objects that come into contact with food (for example, counter, plates, etc.) : 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of bleach for 4 litres (1 gallon) of water
- Surfaces and objects that do not absorb water (for example, floors, ovens, sinks, certain toys, tools, undamaged food tins, etc.) : 45 ml (3 tablespoons) of bleach for 4 litres (1 gallon) of water.
Clean your yard
Take the following precautions when cleaning your yard:
- Never touch downed power lines or electrical equipment. Call 911 immediately if you notice a downed power line. Always assume that the lines are live and keep a minimum distance of 10 meters.
- Carefully remove all debris from your yard.
- Remove and dispose of any waste and garbage in accordance with established standards.
- Check with your municipality to find out what permits and authorizations you need before carrying out filling and excavation work or stabilizing a slope on a shore or floodplain.
Observe the following when disposing of a dead animal
To dispose of a dead animal, pick the animal up using a shovel or towel and put it in a durable plastic bag. Close the bag tightly before putting it in a second plastic bag, which you must also tightly close. Put the bag in a trash can that will be emptied during regular garbage collection.
Clean the items you used to handle the animal and wash your hands with warm water and soap.
Contact your municipality if you find the remains of an animal too big to be put in a plastic bag.