If you live or work in an area of the province where flooding is a high risk, be aware that there are serious gas and electrical safety implications you need to consider and prepare for. Taking the right steps to ensure your safety before, during, and after the flood occurs is as easy as following the steps outlined below.
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Fact: According to the BC Government, floods are common in BC and can happen at any time of the year. The most severe floods usually occur in spring and early summer due to heavy rain and melting snow. They can also be caused by storm surges, ice jams or damage to structures like dikes or dams.
How to prepare for a flood
If extreme weather is imminent and you know in advance that your community will be impacted by flooding, you can take proactive steps to minimize any potential gas or electrical safety risks. If you are unsure if your community is at risk of flooding, we recommend reviewing the BC government floodplain map to assess the risk flooding poses in your area.
Perform a thorough check to ensure that any electrical panels, boxes, and plugs have covers which stay closed.
Any gas appliance that is removed must have the open end of the pipe leading from the valve to the appliance capped or sealed. This work needs to be performed by a licensed gas contractor.
Relocate or remove electrical appliances and have a licensed contractor isolate electrical circuits.
If serious damage is expected, have your propane supplier remove your propane tank or ensure it is adequately anchored to prevent the tank from floating and being carried away by flood waters
Consider installing a Canadian-certified hard-wired surge suppressor directly to your home’s main electrical panel. (In most cases, a licensed electrical contractor is required for this type of installation.)
Note: If you have enough advance warning and you know that flood waters will reach your gas or electrical appliances you should reach out to a Technical Safety BC licensed gas contractor to remove your gas appliances as they may become damaged.
In the event of a severe flood that requires you to evacuate your home or business, there are additional steps you might need to take to minimize gas and electrical safety risks. If you don’t have a flood plan in place, we recommend consulting the PreparedBC emergency plan website.
Ensure that all valves and power knobs on all appliances and systems are turned off.
Shut off the water leading to and from hot water tanks.
Secure propane tanks to a stable structure.
Note: If natural gas is supplied by Fortis BC or Pacific Northern Gas (PNG): Do not shut off your natural gas if you receive an evacuation order. If gas is provided by propane or other utility providers: Shut off the main gas supply upstream of the gas meter or at the propane tank or cylinder.
Returning home after a flood
Before returning to your home or business, wait until the area of occupancy and contents have been declared safe by the proper authorities. Once you have been allowed to return, there are a few steps you need to take.
Conduct a thorough investigation of your home to assess the damage, paying close attention to electrical and gas equipment which may have been exposed to floodwaters. Do not turn on these items until they have been looked at by a licensed gas or electrical contractor.
Don’t have a contractor? Review our list of licensed contractors in BC.
Note: Technical Safety BC does not complete inspections of equipment after flooding.