Floods and storms
You can take steps to protect your natural gas and electrical appliances in case of flooding. However, don’t put your safety at risk. Water and electricity are a potentially dangerous combination. If you see water already entering your building, don’t touch anything and just focus on getting out safely.
Learn how to prepare your home for a flood
Watch this video to learn what to do with your natural gas appliances before flooding, whether or not you have time to prepare, and find out how to stay safe after the waters have gone down.
Protect your appliances before a flood
With advance notice
Contact a licensed gas contractor to help prepare and move gas appliances, if necessary. You can find one using our online directory.
- Locate the shut-offs for the electrical panel for your home, and know how to safely shut it off if your area will be flooded.
- Unplug electrical devices from their sockets and, if possible, move appliances out of the potential flood path.
- Have a licensed gas contractor remove the electric motor, burner and controls from the furnace, and turn off the gas and electricity supply.
- Have a licensed gas contractor remove hot water tanks, clothes dryers and ranges from your building. Ensure that the contractor safely shuts off the gas supply before moving any appliances.
- Have a licensed gas contractor cap and seal the gas pipe leading to the appliance shutoff valve. This will help prevent the back flow of flood water into the gas piping system.
If you have to evacuate
If you don’t have a lot of time to get out or a contractor is not available, here are some things you can do to protect your appliances.
- Shut off the gas supply valve to each appliance (usually found on the gas line to the appliance) by turning it crosswise to the pipe.
- Do not drain your hot water tank – just shut off the water leading to and from the tank.
- Avoid electrical lines when evacuating and do not go into basements or low-lying structures where water and electricity may be present.
Make sure it’s safe after a flood
When local authorities have advised that it’s safe to do so, you may return to your home. But be aware of hazards that can still occur once flooding has subsided:
- Flood water may have shifted your home or caused stresses to the gas piping and electrical wiring. For your safety, have a licensed gas contractor inspect your piping and appliances for damage – don’t try to repair or relight them yourself.
- Flood waters can shift the surface of the earth and either expose or reduce the amount of dirt covering your natural gas lines. If you discover an exposed gas line, don’t attempt to repair it and call the FortisBC Emergency Line immediately at 1-800-663-9911 (24 hours).
- If water levels were high enough to cover your gas meter or it was necessary to turn off your natural gas due to flooding, a FortisBC technician will need to inspect the meter and regulator before turning the gas back on and relighting any appliances. For relights, call 1-877-711-8877.
- Wet electrical wiring is very dangerous. Any loose wires should be treated as live, and avoided. Have any wiring that has been partially or fully covered by flood water checked by a qualified electrician or electrical contractor.
- If you still see water in your building, do not attempt to shut off the main power switch. Avoid any electrical lines or basements and other low-lying structures where electricity may be present.
Click or call before you dig
- If you are removing debris or digging for any reason during or after a flood, call BC One Call first at 1-800-474-6886 to find out where gas lines and buried utilities are.
- Let the agent know you have been impacted by a flood and FortisBC will prioritize your request and email your natural gas line location information immediately.
- If you do not have access to email, let BC One Call know and they will ensure FortisBC calls you to provide your natural gas line location information over the phone.
If you smell rotten eggs or sulphur or hear the sound of escaping gas, don’t enter the building. Go outside and call the FortisBC Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911 (24 hours) or 911.
Restoring your appliances after a flood
Call a licensed gas contractor
Don’t try to put natural gas appliances back in service yourself. For your safety, gas appliances that have been flooded should not be used until inspected by a licensed gas contractor.
A licensed gas contractor will check, clean, repair and pressure-test all gas pipes that have been clogged with mud or debris. They will also check switches, controls, thermostats, furnace heat exchangers, burner and pilot parts and rusting metal
parts for damage. It may be less expensive to buy a new appliance than restore damaged ones to safe operating condition.
Find a licensed gas contractor near you using our online directory.
Call an electrician
Flood water may have stressed electrical wiring, and water makes a dangerous combination with any loose wires. Have any wiring that has been partially or fully covered by flood water checked by a qualified electrician or electrical contractor.
When to call FortisBC
- If water levels were high enough to cover either your gas meter or electricity meter, call FortisBC to check your meter(s) before using any of your equipment.
- If it was necessary to turn off your natural gas due to flooding, you may find a red “outage” tag on the gas meter or your doorknob. A FortisBC technician will need to inspect the meter and regulator before turning the gas back on and relighting any appliances. Call the number on the tag or 1-877-711-8877.