Stay Safe: Flood Preparedness

This is a condensed overview of emergency preparedness before, during and after a flood. The Alberta WaterPortal will take steps to ensure that Albertans and the water community are kept up-to-date on emergency procedures and this page will be updated periodically but there may be instances where information is not as current as it can possibly be. It is the responsibility of the individual to stay informed about emergency procedures and current practices. For comprehensive guide and step-by-step instruction read the following documents visit the Alberta Emergency Management Agency's Flood Preparedness document and Floods: What to do? by Get Prepared.

Emergency Planning

The 2013 southern Alberta flood demonstrated how quickly emergency situations can unfold and the importance of preparing for extreme weather events. It is important to have an emergency plan in place before a critical situation unfolds. 

- Make sure your Emergency Preparedness Kit is easy to move or carry. You might want to keep your Emergency Kit in a small suitcase with wheels or a backpack 

  • Digitize important documents: make digital copies of important documents (like wills, passports, birth and marriage certificates) and store them on a USB flash drive in a safe location, like a safety deposit box. Don’t store the original documents in the basement.
  • Know your risk: Some areas have a higher risk of being flooded. The department of Environment and Sustainable Resourced Development has developed an online Flood Hazard Map Application. Explore the areas around your home or place of business to learn if you are located on a floodway or flood fringe.  
  • Prepare your home:  

- There are several ways to prepare your home or property in case of flooding. The City of Calgary publication Before, During and After: Flooding in Calgary lists a number of ways to protect homes against basement seepage, sewage backup, stormwater backup and overland flooding.    

Flood Watch

  • Be proactive and prepare
  • If possible, turn off basement furnaces and outside gas valve

  • Safeguard electrical, natural gas or propane heating equipment

  • Shut off the electricity only if flooding has not yet begun and the area around the fuse box is completely dry

  • Locate your Emergency Kit and gather any supplies you may need in the event of an evacuation

  • If possible, move furniture, electrical equipment and other valuables to locations above ground level

  • Remove toxic substances from areas that might be flooded 

  • Disconnect eavestroughs if they are connected to the house sewer[2]

Flood Warning

  • This means flooding is happening  
  • Do NOT shut off electricity if water is present

  • Grab your disaster kit and evacuate[3]

  • Take your pets with you or make arrangement for pets or animals. 

- Try to make arrangement to leave household pets with friends or family. If friends or relatives are not able to care for your pets the Calgary Humane Society (4455 110 Ave. S.E) offers short term emergency pet boarding during disasters. You may also be able to leave animals for a short time with Animal Service Centre (2201 Portland St. S.E)

During A Flood 

Stay informed 

In Canada: 

In Alberta: 

  • Alberta Emergency Management Agency:

Current Alerts Website

Alberta Emergency Management Agency homepage

Emergency Alerts Twitter

Emergency Alerts Facebook 

  • Alberta Environment - Advisories and Updates: 

Alberta Environment Website

Advisories and Warnings Currently in Effect 

Stay away from the water

  • Do not approach river banks, dry ponds, wet ponds, storm drainage outfalls or pathways that have been covered by water

  • Area under a river banks can become undermined by fast moving water and may collapse 

  • Dry ponds are designed to trap water during floods to minimize damage to surrounding areas. As the name suggests, dry ponds are dry 95% of the time but during a flood water may be released into these areas. Water may be released suddenly or without warning so avoid these areas

  • Water levels in wet ponds may rise 2 metres (or 6 ½ feet) above their normal height

  • Stay off the roads unless you are evacuating:  Don’t drive to affected areas unless you are a part of the official emergency response. Unnecessary traffic may hinder emergency response[4] 

  • Do not walk or drive through moving water: 

  • 6 inches of moving water can make you unsteady or cause you to fall. If you must walk through moving water proceed very cautiously

- Watch for sinkholes or openings in the road. Flood waters can lift manhole covers and murky floodwaters can make spotting openings difficult. Open manholes can also create strong currents that can pull a pedestrian into the storm-drainage system[5]  

  • Do not drive through flood waters: depth of water is often difficult to determine and as little as two feet of moving water can carry away large vehicles like sport utility vehicles[6] 


  • Do not ignore evacuation warnings from local emergency authorities. Leave when they tell you to and follow instructions. Follow designated roads and don’t take short cuts. 

  • Take your Emergency Kit

  • Lock your doors

  • Time permitting, leave a note in your mailbox stating you left the residence and where you went. Or register with City of Calgary Disaster Social Services at a designated City of Calgary reception centre. 

  • Stay tuned to municipal sources for locations of emergency shelters. The High River Reception Centre is normally located at the Highwood High School. Locations will likely be communicated to the public via municipal press releases (visit the example: If shelter and evacuation resources go offline then search for information from provincial or federal sources.   




[2] Public Safety Canada.

[3]  Public Safety Canada.