How prepared are you for a flood?

Brent Whelan, Emergency Management Coordinator for the Fredericton and Upper River Valley Areas, Horizon Health Network

As we all know and come to expect, flooding impacts residents more or less every spring along the Saint John River. This year’s preparations are happening amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its difficult circumstances. Historically, affected areas may include Fredericton, Maugerville, Burton, Chipman, Jemseg and many other communities that border the river. Flooding is a natural occurrence that can cause property damage, and certain precautions should be taken well before water overflows.

At this time, it is too early to predict what we could expect for 2020 flood levels. What we can say about Horizon’s emergency preparedness is that preparing for emergencies that may affect the delivery of our health care services is a shared responsibility of all staff. For every flood season, we ensure plans are in place to help families, patients and clients access our services. It is important for people to find comfort in knowing our health care professionals will be there for us to continue to provide safe and quality health care when disaster strikes.

Every spring, residents living in a flood-risk area are encouraged to prepare personal emergency supply kits, and also check on their neighbours. If a household is affected by the flood, there are several precautions to take to prevent additional health problems from cleaning outdoor equipment, to disinfecting kitchen counters and disposing of contaminated items that cannot be washed. Through it all, you also need to ensure your water supply remains safe.

There is a wealth of resources available to help keep you and your loved ones safe and prepared:

  • New Brunswick’s River Watch site includes local advisories, maps, and emergency numbers
  • The Government of Canada’s Flood Ready site has additional preparation tips
  • The Be Ready App by the Canadian Red Cross can be accessed anytime, anywhere even without reception or an internet connection

On behalf of my colleagues at Horizon, I want to thank those involved in preparing for any emergencies that may affect the delivery of care. On that note, I wish a very safe and enjoyable spring season for all.

Brent Whelan joined Horizon in January 2019 as an Emergency Management Coordinator for the Fredericton and Upper River Valley areas. He was previously the Regional Emergency Management Coordinator for the Saint John area and Charlotte County with the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.