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City of Hamilton

Public Health - Floods

Basement flooding information

In the event of a flood, be aware of electrical hazards from submerged live wires, electrical equipment and water damaged appliances. If water has come in contact with electrical circuits, turn the power off. This should be done at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel.

Do not turn power back on until electrical equipment have been repaired and inspected by a qualified electrician or have been replaced.

If you are exposed to biological hazards (raw sewage); you may become ill by breathing or swallowing the contaminants. Some contaminants like bacteria or viruses may be left indoors by floodwater, while fungi or mold may grow indoors after the water has left.

If you accidentally swallow flood water or sediment that is contaminated, you might develop gastrointestinal (digestive tract) illness. Contact your physician if this occurs.

To reduce your risk of illness:

  • Do not drink the water
  • Discard food that has come into contact with flood waters
  • When cleaning wear rubber gloves, a N-95 disposable mask and other protective equipment
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, before eating or preparing food, or after participating in flood clean up activities

Learn more about Cleaning After a Flood and Food Safety. Also:

Links and Other Websites

Floods - Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
Information from the Government of Canada to help you prepare for a flood, including what to do during and after a flood, and how to begin cleaning-up.

For more information, please contact City of Hamilton Public Health Services at 905-546-3570 or by email at

Last updated: July 26, 2009