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Safety advice and checklists

In order to return home safely, consult safety advice and checklists following a flood by clicking on the links below:

Electricity

Caution! Electrical work must always be carried out exclusively by a contractor holding the licence subclass 16.0 – Electrical contractor. Therefore, an owner cannot carry out work relating to electrical installations in their residence (e.g. install or replace outlets, switches, lights, electric baseboard heating, wiring, etc.).

Here are a few safety precautions to observe:

  • Never turn off the main service switch or any other electrical device while you stand in the water.
  • Before powering up electrical installations, have every piece of electrical equipment that was immersed in water or reached by the water verified by an electrical contractor and by a duly authorized manufacturer’s representative, if necessary.

Checklist following a flood

Consult the Checklist following a flood - Electricity [Fr]This link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window. of the Corporation des maîtres électriciens du Québec.

Gas

Propane gas is a useful and safe source of energy when observing certain basic safety rules. If you use it recklessly, propane gas can become a time bomb, as it poses risks of asphyxia and explosion.

Many heating apparatus can give off carbon monoxide (CO): generators, heaters, barbecues, propane-powered refrigerators, etc. CO is a treacherous gas since it is invisible, colourless, odourless and non-irritating. It can cause light to severe intoxication as well as deadly poisoning.

Here’s what to do to avoid intoxication:

  • Make sure your propane-powered apparatus are in good condition, and observe maintenance and safety rules of the instruction manual.
  • Make sure there’s a permanent air vent for any propane-powered apparatus, and that combustion products are exhausting outside.
  • Install residential generators outside the house.

Construction radiators

Using construction radiators powered by propane to dry off your building requires great caution and is subject to regulatory requirements, the most important being listed below:

  • The building must at no time be inhabited during the use of such heaters, so as to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
  • The storage of propane cylinders inside the building is strictly prohibited, since gas leaks could cause an explosion.
  • The heater must be installed on a base which is level, solid and non-combustible.
  • The clearances of the heater to any combustible material nearby must be as indicated on the appliance instruction plate.
  • Sufficient and adequate air must be supplied (see instruction plate of appliance).
  • If a hose is used to supply propane to the apparatus, this hose must be at least 4.6 m (15 ft) in length, but no more than 24 m (75 ft).

Barbecue

A propane-fired barbecue, as any outdoor apparatus, should always be used outdoors. Never store a propane cylinder inside.

To avoid fire risks, keep the barbecue away from walls, windows, patio doors, trees and shrubs. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to learn about the clearance to maintain between your appliance and any combustible material.

When water retreats

If you own a propane-powered apparatus, make sure the valve is closed.

When you enter a building, if it smells like rotten eggs or boiled cabbage, it might be the sign of a gas leak. Notify immediately the fire department.

Never store your propane cylinder indoor. If propane cylinders are inside the building during a flood or for the ones you own, make sure the valve is tightly closed and take them outside. Put them in an upright position, at least 3 metres for the building. If propane-powered apparatus, equipment or propane tanks have been flooded, they must be verified by a contractor specialized in gas before reusing them. Gas suppliers who carry out repair or installation work on apparatus or tanks must hold the appropriate RBQ licence.

Checklists following a flood

Consult the Checklists following a disaster of the Corporation des maîtres électriciens du Québec (CMMTQ):

Heating system

Here is some advice concerning heating systems:

  • It is strongly recommended not to use heating apparatus or systems that have been flooded to dry off your house.
  • It is mandatory that the system or apparatus be verified, that its air ducts or lines be cleaned and decontaminated, and that its insulated parts be replaced.

Checklists following a flood

Consult the Checklists following a disaster of the Corporation des maîtres électriciens du Québec (CMMTQ):

Plumbing

Before using your plumbing fixtures, contact your municipality to make sure the municipal sewer system is functional. If you own a septic system, consult Urgence Québec’s advice [Fr]This link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window.. After, several actions are recommended:

  • Clean all the valve openings (clean or replace faucet aerators, hose bibbs, shower heads and hoses).
  • Check and clean, if necessary, all the outlets of the plumbing fixtures and make sure they work properly (including the inside of the toilet tank and overflows for sinks and bathtubs).
  • Clean the sump pits and check if the sump pump works.
  • Locate, check and clean floor drains and backwater valves (sewer backup protection).
  • Have the backflow preventers checked by a certified tester.
  • Drain, clean and replace filters of water softeners.

Checklist following a flood

Consult the Checklists following a disaster – Plumbing [Fr]This link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window. of the Corporation des maîtres électriciens du Québec (CMMTQ).

Elevators and other elevating devices

If your building is equipped with an elevator or elevating devices for disabled persons, read the following advice:

  • Record information about the flood to help maintenance companies, inspectors and insurance agents who will be required to get the apparatus back in service. Recording information might also help owners ensure a rapid settlement with insurers.
  • Even though an elevator might still work during a flood under certain conditions, deactivation is necessary. The elevator car should normally be positioned in the middle of the elevator shaft.
  • The owner must plan for the inspection or the testing of the components quickly in order to prevent deterioration of materials caused by rust. Moreover, inspection is mandatory. The necessary work must be carried out before reusing the apparatus by a contractor holding a licence delivered by the RBQ (14.1 and 14.2). This contractor must be aware of the risks to the user safety, and from damages caused by water. He will be able to evaluate the condition of the equipment by:
    • verifying the deterioration of the mechanical components, engines, control circuits and electrical circuits
    • checking for water in the tanks and in the hydraulic system
    • checking for water in shock absorbers
    • replacing damaged materials
    • inspecting lifting cables, etc.

Petroleum equipment installations

If you own a fuel oil tank used in a single-family house, the RBQ recommends that you have its integrity verified by a specialized contractor before reusing your installation.

Notice to owners and operators

Many service stations and other petroleum equipment installations (fuel oil tank of a heating system, marina, user outlet, etc.) can be found in areas that are currently flooded. There are high risks that the integrity of these installations be jeopardized.

In order to avoid fire risks and contamination of soil, groundwater and bodies of water, the RBQ reminds you that as an owner or operator of these installations, you must have your equipment verified by a qualified person before reusing it. 

Under chapter VI of the Safety Code, holders of a permit for the use of petroleum equipment must inform the RBQ of a disaster involving petroleum equipment installations within 24 hours after its discovery.

Petroleum spills

If you witness a petroleum spill, you must contact the ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiquesThis link open an external website of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec in a new window.. It is responsible for implementing environmental measures in the event of soil contamination resulting from leakage or spilling of petroleum products. It also manages all aspects related to any other dangerous “residual” materials, such as used oil.

Building structure and interior finishing

In order to ensure building safety, many precautions must be taken concerning the building’s structure, exterior and interior claddings as well as any installation, before, during and after repairing work.

Information about the precautions to observe, and about the available help can be found on the following webpages: