RMOW Flood Hazard Specific Guide
The RMOW has developed a new Flood Hazard Specific Guide detailing how the RMOW will prepare for, and respond to, a flood event in the RMOW.
The guide includes a Flood Forecast Risk Rating Tool to assess local weather forecasts to determine if flooding is possible and to what extent.
While rainfall amounts are the primary driver of flooding in Whistler, there are a variety of factors that increase flood risk including stream flow conditions, freezing levels, snowpack composition and depth, and soil saturation levels. Staff will use the tool to assess conditions to determine if a weather forecast warrants monitoring, early flood preparations, or aggressive flood preparations by the RMOW.
In addition to forecasting and preparation tools the Flood Hazard Specific Guide details the municipality’s flood response, once flooding is imminent or already occurring.
Before a flood
To reduce the likelihood of flood damage:
- Visit the PreparedBC flood page for information on what you can do to prepare in advance of a flood. Or Download the PreparedBC: Flood Information for Homeowners and Home Buyers guide (PDF) to learn about protecting your home and property or watch this short-clip of Flood Information for Homeowners and Home Buyers.
- Confirm or purchase overland flood insurance. Purchasing flood insurance provides financial protection for the cost of repairs due to flood damage.
If a flood is forecast:
- Monitor whistler.ca for updates or tune to local radio station 102.1 Mountain FM or 101.5 Whistler FM for information on affected areas, safe driving routes, and instructions on what to do if emergency responders ask you to leave your home.
- Use sandbags to protect your home. If a flood is forecast, the RMOW will set-up a self-serve sandbag station for residents outside the gates of the Public Works Yard at 8001 Highway 99. Bags, shovels, and sand will be available free-of-charge to residents.
- Put together an emergency kit and develop a household emergency plan.
- Take special precautions to safeguard electrical, natural gas or propane heating equipment.
- If there is enough time, consult your electricity or fuel supplier for instructions on how to proceed.
- Shut off the electricity only if flooding has not yet begun and the area around the fuse box is completely dry. Stand to the side of the breaker panel and look away from the panel when switching the power off. Have a flashlight with you.
If flooding is imminent:
- Move furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings to floors above ground level.
- Remove toxic substances, such as pesticides and insecticides from the flood area to prevent pollution.
- Remove toilet bowls and plug basement sewer drains and toilet connections with a wooden stopper.
- Disconnect eavestroughs if they are connected to the house sewer.
- In some cases, homes may be protected with sandbags.
- Do NOT attempt to shut off electricity, if any water is present. Water and live electrical wires can be lethal. Leave your home immediately and do not return until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.
During a flood
Never cross a flooded area:
- If you are on foot, fast water could sweep you away.
- If you are in a car, do not drive through flood waters or underpasses. The water may be deeper than it looks and your car could get stuck or swept away by fast water.
- Avoid crossing bridges if the water is high and flowing quickly.
- If you are caught in fast-rising waters and your car stalls, leave it and save yourself and your passengers.
After a flood
Re-entering your home
- Do not return home until authorities have advised that it is safe to do so.
- If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so.
- Use extreme caution when returning to your home after a flood.
- Appliances that may have been flooded pose a risk of shock or fire when turned on. Do not use any appliances, heating, pressure, or sewage system until electrical components have been thoroughly cleaned, dried, and inspected by a qualified electrician.
- The main electrical panel must be cleaned, dried, and tested by a qualified electrician to ensure that it is safe.
- Depending on where you live, your municipal or the provincial inspection authority is responsible for the permitting process required before your electric utility can reconnect power to your home.
Ensure building safety
- Make sure the building is structurally safe.
- Look for buckled walls or floors.
- Watch for holes in the floor, broken glass and other potentially dangerous debris.
- Flood water can be heavily contaminated with sewage and other pollutants. It can cause sickness and infections.
- If you suspect (because of colour, odour or taste) that your drinking water has been contaminated, don’t drink it.
- Discard flood-damaged household items according to local regulations.
- Store all valuable papers that have been damaged in a freezer until needed. (After your cleanup, consult your lawyer to determine whether flood-damaged documents, or just the information in them, must be retained).
- Record details of flood damage by photograph or video, if possible.
Register the amount of damage to your home with both your insurance agent and the Resort Municipality of Whistler. Ask the municipality if the event is eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance.
The RMOW, as the local diking authority, performs annual monitoring and surveying of Fitzsimmons Creek and Whistler Creek.
If survey results show that gravel needs to be removed to maintain flood protection, the work is done at the end of August or early September so as to minimize environmental impacts. Work is done with authorizations from the federal and provincial governments and in strict accordance with engineering recommendations and environmental management plans.