Emergencies can occur at any time. In an emergency, response agencies focus their efforts first where the need is greatest. That is why individual emergency preparedness is so important. While most people recognize the importance of being prepared, surveys have shown that fewer than half take the steps needed to be prepared.
The first step in disaster prevention and preparedness is to know the risks.
Each year, the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency releases its forecast for the upcoming spring runoff. Although the forecast is a general guide for large areas, it may identify any areas where there is a potential threat of higher than normal water levels.
The best way to meet the challenges of spring runoff or flooding is to be well prepared. Some suggested mitigative actions to prevent flooding are to:
- Clear neighbourhood storm water catch basins, where present, to help water drain.
- Shovel or remove snow from around your home and move it to a position where melt water will drain away from the foundation. This will help melt water drain into the appropriate system in your town or city and possibly relieve pressure on waste water systems.
- Clear channels in the ice/snow to allow melt water to drain away more effectively from your home.
Ensure downspouts are extended so they discharge rain or melt away from your home. This will help prevent the water from draining back towards your foundation. The suggested minimum distance is two metres.
- Check to make sure your sump pump is working. If you don't have a sump pump, consider installing one. Contact a plumber for assistance, if required.
- Determine if any private wells could be infiltrated by flood water. Also consider if your wellhead protection is adequate and if your well's power supply is secure.
- Consider installing a mainline Sewer Backwater Valve to protect against sewer backup.
- Keep basement sewer caps in place.
- Check your basement regularly for signs of water and consider installing a water-sensing alarm.
You may wish to learn more about prevention methods to reduce the risk of flooding:
Severe summer weather
Saskatchewan is known for its severe summer weather, such as thunderstorms, extreme heat or tornadoes. In all instances, it is important to be aware of what type of weather is in the forecast. To understand the difference between a weather advisory, watch or warning, visit Environment Canada's Be Prepared for Summer Weather.
Since the recommendation for many severe summer weather events is to take shelter, it is important that your home is in good repair and that you follow the flooding tips listed above in case there is a flash flood.
Blizzards, extreme cold and other winter storms are common occurrences on the prairies. That's why it's important to know what Environment Canada means when it forecasts severe winter weather. You may also wish to check the Highway Hotline before heading out.
Wildland or forest fires
There have been several instances of widespread grass fires and forest fires over the past few years. You can view the current wildfire activity in our province, as well as the location of wildfires in previous years by visiting Wildfire in Saskatchewan.
The Ministry of Environment promotes FireSmart, a program that helps you to prevent and prepare for wildfire and to protect your home and community.
Fire can spread quickly in hot, dry, windy conditions. That's why you should check to seek if there is a Fire Ban in your community and report any planned burning of fields to the Controlled Burn Line at 1-866-404-4911. If you are planning to burn inside or within 4.5 kilometre of a provincial forest, you will also need to get a Burn Notification Number.
There may be other risks that could affect you not listed here. For a complete list of Hazards and Emergencies, visit the Get Prepared website.