Flooding can affect your health and safety in a number of ways. You may be required to evacuate if flooding is close to your home.
If you have been ordered to evacuate your home due to flooding or another hazard, you should register with Emergency Support Services (ESS) whether you need the support or not. This will help ensure that your loved ones and communities know where you are and know that you’re safe. Self-register online at ess.gov.bc.ca. If you require assistance with self-registration you can ask for help by calling the Emergency Support Services Info Line: 1-800-585-9559. In addition, please ensure to:
- Follow any guidance provided by local public health officials
- Follow Emergency Management British Columbia's general Emergency Evacuee Guidance During COVID-19
- If you must register at a reception site in person, it is imperative that you maintain appropriate physical distance. If you have a mask or face covering, wearing it will provide more protection to others.
- Remain updated on current flooding information: EmergencyInfoBC's Current Flooding Information.
Learn what you can do before an emergency or disaster such as flooding, and what you can to do stay safe and healthy during and after a flooding event in your area by using the Government of BC: Flooding Preparedness Guide.
For information about safe handling of food during an emergency, click on the links below.
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable in an emergency.
Breastfeeding is the safest way to feed your baby. Offer the breast often, for nutrition and comfort.
- Breastfeeding (HealthLinkBC File #70)
- You can find more information on how to safely breastfeed your baby and/or young child during COVID-19 here
Babies who are formula-fed are at highest risk during an emergency. It can be difficult to safely prepare infant formula if you do not have clean water or electricity. Check local water quality advisories before using water to mix with formula or to clean and disinfect feeding equipment. Follow any guidance provided by local public health officials. If you don't know if your water is safe, use ready-to-feed infant formula.
- Feeding Your Baby Formula: Before You Start (HealthLinkBC File 69a)
- Feeding Your Baby Formula: Safely Making and Storing Formula (HealthLinkBC File 69b)
- Government of British Columbia: Water Quality Notifications
You can find more information on how to safely feed your baby during COVID-19 if you are using or thinking about using infant formula here
If you have any concerns around infant formula or need advice on acceptable short-term alternatives, contact your local public health office or call 8-1-1 to speak with a nurse or dietitian at HealthLink BC.
During flooding roads may be closed, you may be cut off from certain supplies and services, or your community may be evacuated. Learn what you can do to prepare for an emergency and stay safe in advance of a potential evacuation alert or order.
- Government of British Columbia: Be prepared for floods
- Government of British Columbia: Make your emergency plan
- Government of British Columbia: Protect your home and property
- Government of British Columbia: Build an Emergency Kit
- Government of Canada – Get Prepared
- Government of Canada: Make your community Flood Ready
- Preparing for an Emergency: A Focus on Water and Food
- Seniors as Emergency Response Volunteers | HealthLinkBC File 103b
Flooding and Water Quality
For the most recent information on flooding, please see the EmergencyInfoBC's Current Flooding Information.
For information about flooding and water quality from your health authority, where available, click on the links below.
- First Nations Health Authority: Environmental Health
- Fraser Health – Flooding
- Interior Health – Flooding
- Island Health – Drinking Water
- Northern Health – Flooding
- Vancouver Coastal Health – Water Quality
If there is flooding in or near your community, you may be evacuated to a safer area. There are a number of resources and supports available to evacuees. Learn what to do if you are evacuated from your home and how to find support in your area.
- British Columbia River Forecast Centre: Flood Warning and Advisories
- DriveBC:Driving Conditions
- EmergencyInfoBC: Current Flooding Information
- Government of British Columbia: What to do if evacuated from your home
Seniors may need special support in the event of an evacuation. Learn what you can do to be prepared.
- Caring for Seniors in Residential Care in an Emergency (HealthLinkBC File #103c)
- Community Evacuation Information for Seniors (HealthLinkBC File #103a)
Evacuation and COVID-19
If you have been ordered to evacuate your home due to flooding or another hazard, it's important to use COVID-19 prevention practices as much as possible. Ways to stay safe include:
- Maintaining a safe physical distance from others (6 feet or 2 meters)
- Washing your hands regularly or using hand sanitizer
- Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or sleeve
- Wear a mask in indoor, confined, or crowded spaces
Take precautions to avoid contact with others if you have received an evacuation order and have any of the following:
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or
- You have cold-like, flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, or
- You are self-isolating after international travel or possible exposure to COVID-19
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 can assess whether they need to be tested using the COVID-19 Self- Assessment Tool. If you need a test and have been evacuated out of your home community, find the COVID-19 Collection Centre nearest to you. Visit BC Centre for Disease Control's Testing information page for information and to find a centre.
Health Care for Evacuees
For non-emergency health information or advice, call 8-1-1 to speak with a health services navigator who can help you find the information you are looking for or connect you with a registered nurse, registered dietitian, qualified exercise professional, or a pharmacist.
If you have been displaced by an evacuation, you can visit a pharmacy near you to access an emergency supply of medications you may need. For more information, visit College of Pharmacists of British Columbia - Accessing Medications During an Emergency.
To find a walk-in clinic in your area, search the FIND Services and Resources Directory or call 8-1-1 to speak with a health services navigator any time of the day, every day of the year.
Dealing with Stress and Trauma
Disasters, such as floods, can impact your emotional health as much as your physical health. Learn what you can do to recognize signs of stress or trauma in yourself and your family.
- Kelty Mental Health: Managing Stress
- First Nations Health Authority: Recognizing and Resolving Trauma in Children During Disasters
- Signs of Stress
- Stress Management
- Stress in Children and Teenagers
- Stress Management: Helping Your Child With Stress
When your local or First Nations government has declared it is safe for you to return home, there are steps you can take to make the transition easier and safer.
- Clean-up after a Flood (HealthLinkBC File #20)
- CMHC: Flood clean up and mould prevention
- Indoor Air Quality: Mould and Other Biological Contaminants (HealthLinkBC File #56b)
- Government of British Columbia: Recovering after a flood
Last updated: November 17, 2021