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Emergency measures

Here are the first steps to take when a disaster occurs.

  • Make sure you are safe with your family, loved ones and pets.
  • In cases where an entire region is affected by a disaster, contact the local authorities to find out what measures have been put in place (police, firefighters, municipality).
  • Call your insurance agent to begin the claims process.
  • Document the damage with a camera. You can use the camera on your mobile device.
  • Call a demolition and disaster clean-up specialist such as Jaco Group at 514 518-7226 or 514 518-8227.
  • Make sure a room is safe before entering it.
  • Secure the disaster area.
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General and practical advice

Don’t wait for a disaster to happen before you're ready. These tips will help you prepare and make your life easier if you are a victim of a disaster.

  • Make an inventory of your belongings. It helps with the presentation of a claim to your insurer and will speed up its processing.
    • Note the serial numbers of your valuables.
    • Take photos and/or videos of your valuables, furniture, the inside of drawers, cupboards and wardrobes.
    • Keep your invoices and guarantee certificates for your goods.
    • Make a copy of these documents to keep them outside your home or office as in the event of a fire or flood these documents could be destroyed.
  • Insurance contract
    • Make sure your insurance policy is in good standing.
    • Take the time to read and understand all the clauses of your insurance contract. Do not hesitate to contact your agent or broker to ask any questions you may have about your insurance policies and what they cover.
    • Write down the contact information of your insurance agent or broker.
  • If you absolutely must proceed quickly with work or incur expenses before the insurers have approved your claim (accommodation, food, etc.), keep all your bills and receipts.
  • If you are a tenant, contact your landlord. His insurance policy may cover damage to your home, but it is advisable to have your own insurance policy to cover your belongings as well.
  • In the event of a major disaster, you may be compensated by a government program.
  • Install working fire extinguishers near your kitchens, fireplaces, and workshops and make sure that you and all your loved ones are able to use them.
  • Do not use any unknown product to clean up messes as you could make the problem worse.
  • If you spill liquid on your carpet, do not use cleaning products immediately. Blot up the liquid as soon as possible with a clean cloth. This will prevent damage to the fabric.
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Advice in case of water damage

What to do:

  • Close the faucets and valve on the line causing the leak or close the main valve on the water inlet.
  • Identify and block the source of water infiltration or contact a professional.
  • Close and unplug all electrical and electronic equipment in and around the affected area.
  • Turn off the power breakers in areas where water could reach, otherwise turn off the main power breaker. VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you are in a dry area before touching electrical equipment. If not, contact Hydro Quebec or the fire department.
  • Contact your gas supplier to shut off the gas supply.
  • If the ceiling is bulging due to water accumulation, make holes for the water to drain. Use pots and large bowls to collect the water and prevent it from spilling.
  • Remove as much water as possible using large containers, a shovel or pump.
  • Mop up the flooded area with towels to prevent the water from spreading further and causing more damage.
  • Remove all objects from wooden furniture and wipe their surfaces.
  • Open the windows to ventilate and speed up drying.
  • Open all drawers, cabinets, suitcases, cases and other containers to dry. Put them outside in the sun.
  • If water drips onto carpet, use containers to collect water. Sponge and protect the carpet with towels that won't stain the carpet.
  • Protect your carpets by putting aluminum foil, pieces of wood or glass saucers under the legs of furniture to prevent them from staining the carpets.

What not to do:

  • DO NOT TOUCH ANY OBJECTS OR ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT until you are absolutely certain there is no water and the area is dry. Contact Hydro-Québec or the fire department if this is not the case.
  • Do not use a generator until the building has been dried and declared safe.
  • Turn on ceiling lights or plug appliances into wall outlets if they are wet.
  • Don’t pull on the carpets as they could damage the floor. Roll them up instead.
  • Don’t leave papers, newspapers or magazines on furniture or carpets as they may stain the areas.
  • Don’t leave clothes lying around because they could mould and stain the areas.
  • Don’t dry carpets with mobile heaters.
  • Don’t use a household vacuum cleaner to remove or pump out the water.
  • Don’t use the heater before professionals have been able to install dehumidifiers as moisture could cause damage.
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Flood advice

What to do:

  • Plug drains, water outlets and sewers to prevent water backflow into the building, especially if they are not equipped with non-return valves.
  • Securely obstruct broken windows and block dangerous access.
  • Put all your valuables in a safe space.
  • Store objects that are on the ground high up.
  • If you have access to a second floor, move furniture and objects from the ground floor or basement up to it.
  • Leave the building without forgetting anyone if the water level forces you to do so and/or if the authorities ask you to do so.
  • Bring warm clothing, medicine, and other necessary items you will need in your absence.
  • Contact Hydro-Québec and/or an electrician before reconnecting the electrical panel and restarting heating equipment.
  • Before drinking the water, contact your municipality to make sure the water is safe to drink. In the meantime you can boil the water for 5 to 20 minutes. If you have a well and/or water treatment systems, have them tested.
  • If you have a septic tank, have it inspected to make sure it is working properly.
  • Discard all food and medications that have been in contact with water or moisture as they may have been contaminated by improper water.
  • If you have to throw away medication, take inventory and take pictures of it for your insurance claim.

What not to do:

  • DO NOT TOUCH ANY OBJECTS OR ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT until you are absolutely certain there is no water and the area is dry. Contact Hydro-Québec or the fire department if this is not the case.
  • Do not use a generator until the building has been dried and declared safe.
  • Turn on ceiling lights or plug appliances into wall outlets if they are wet.
  • Don’t pull on the carpets as they could damage the floor. Roll them up instead.
  • Don’t leave papers, newspapers or magazines on furniture or carpets as they may stain the areas.
  • Don’t leave clothes lying around because they could mould and stain the areas.
  • Don’t dry carpets with mobile heaters.
  • Don’t use a household vacuum cleaner to remove or pump out the water.
  • Don’t use the heater before professionals have been able to install dehumidifiers as moisture could cause damage.
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Tips for fire and smoke damage

Fire emergency measures:

  • If there is no danger, close the door of the room where the fire originated.
  • Immediately evacuate the area of the fire. Do not waste time carrying goods and objects.
  • Make sure you don't forget anyone on your way out.
  • If there is a lot of smoke, crawl on all fours to make breathing easier.
  • Use your sweater or other fabrics to filter the smoke if it is too thick.
  • When you are outside, call 9-1-1 immediately or ask a neighbor.
  • If someone is missing, inform the fire department as soon as they arrive.
  • If you or someone close to you is on fire, throw yourself to the ground and roll over.

After a fire disaster:

  • Securely obstruct broken windows and block dangerous access.
  • Put your pets in an outdoor area or a clean room.
  • Open the windows to ventilate and air out the premises.
  • Change the furnace filter if it is still functional.
  • Empty refrigerators and freezers. Open them and block the door to let them air out.
  • Vacuum to remove soot wherever it is present (furniture, carpets, floors, walls).
  • Clean hard surfaces (counters, floors)
  • Clean appliances, faucets and bathroom fixtures.
  • Clean plants and remove 3 cm of soil.
  • Drain the water from the heaters if you have a water heating system.
  • In winter, if there is no heating, pour antifreeze into toilets, sinks, tubs and washer outlets.
  • If you have clothes that need to be dry-cleaned, tell your cleaner so he clean them properly, otherwise the smell could become permanent.

What not to do:

  • NEVER GO BACK INTO A BURNING BUILDING. Even to pick up your pet.
  • Don’t use electrical or electronic equipment before cleaning and testing.
  • Don’t eat food that has been exposed to smoke or canned food that has been exposed to high heat.
  • Don’t use upholstered furniture that has been affected by smoke.
  • Don’t clean absorbent surfaces with regular products such as walls, ceilings, wood or brick. Use specialized products for these types of surfaces.
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Storm and extreme weather tips

What to do:

  • Follow the news to stay up-to-date about the latest developments.
  • Stock up on necessities such as food (ready-to-eat and non-perishable, water and medicine).
  • Refuel your car. Keep a gas can if you have a safe place to store it.
  • Make sure you have a working flashlight and a battery-operated or generator-powered radio.
  • Make sure you have charged batteries.
  • Make sure electric and electronic devices are properly charged (phones, tools, computers, etc.).
  • Gather all important documents such as wallets, passports, insurance policies, birth certificates and more.
  • Make sure you have enough cash for emergencies.
  • Make sure that all mobile objects in your yard are securely attached or put in a safe place (barbecues, garden furniture, plants, boats, recreational vehicles).
  • Pick up all other objects in the yard.
  • Move everything possible away from flood-prone areas.
  • Remove the antennas on the building.
  • Contact your gas supplier to shut off the main gas supply.

If the storm is imminent:

  • Close the main water valve to prevent water contamination.
  • Fill bottles with clean water.
  • Fill the bathtub with clean water.
  • Put your valuables in a safe place.
  • Keep objects away from the windows.
  • Write down and keep emergency numbers at hand (utilities, hospitals, insurance company, municipality, and others).
  • Wear your med-alert bracelet if you have one.
  • Avoid driving on the road.
  • Stay inside.
  • Move to a safe place inside the house if the storm becomes more intense.
  • Avoid using electrical appliances that are plugged in.
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Tips for cases of vandalism and break-ins

What to do:

  • If the vandal or thief is still on the premises, do not approach him.
  • Contact the police.
  • Don't touch anything until the police have made their report.

After a disaster caused by an act of vandalism:

  • Secure areas where there has been vandalism or break-ins.
  • Remove the pieces of glass with gloves and place them in a box.
  • Vacuum to remove small pieces of glass from window sills and from the floor and surrounding area.
  • Clean up areas where there has been vandalism or break-ins.

What not to do:

  • Throw away pieces of broken objects that could be repaired.
  • Use electrical and electronic equipment that has been damaged.
  • Try to remove ink, paint or cosmetic stains without using suitable products.

* Disclaimer: These tips are published to help you. Jaco Group cannot be held liable for direct or indirect damage which may result from use of these tips.