City of Saint John River Watch Update - April 26, 2019

26-Apr-2019

(SAINT JOHN, NB) According to the five day forecast, water levels in Saint John have peaked at 5.53 metres today. They are expected to remain stable over the next few days and begin to recede on Sunday. 

The flooding has brought many risks to our community and on private property. We want to remind everyone to keep safety top of mind today and in the days ahead. This includes impacted residents, their family, friends and volunteers assisting, our operational staff and first responders.

There is a special weather statement issued for the Saint John region beginning this evening. We can expect to see rain with a risk of thundershowers overnight and into the morning. Winds could reach gusts of 60km per hour by mid-morning. 

o Residents should stay out of the water. The winds could cause increased wave action in the river that can make for dangerous conditions, and cause a lot of movement with the debris and floating ice. 
o Be cautious along waterways as the banks are unstable and anyone who gets too close is at risk of being swept away. Avoid boating, kayaking or other water activities. Currents are strong, cold and carry debris and other contaminants. 
o Residents with sandbag walls in place should ensure that they are high enough to sustain any increased wave activity along the River system this weekend. Sandbag distribution centres remain open until 7 p.m. today with lots of sandbags available. 

The City is collecting volunteer information to help assist residents in need during the clean up effort

The SJ-EMO is planning for the cleanup efforts and operations that will be required once flood waters begin to recede. We anticipate that there will be a need for a large number of volunteers to support residents during this effort. 

o If you require volunteer assistance or are able to volunteer your time to help those in need, please visit saintjohn.ca/riverwatch and complete the volunteer assistance form(s), or contact us by email at floodvolunteers@saintjohn.ca or phone our automated line at 658-2844. 
o Further details about an organized volunteer response and special debris collection services from the City will be announced in the coming days. 
 
Evacuation is recommended

A voluntary evacuation notice remains in place for residents in flood-impacted areas due to serious flooding or isolation. These areas include Randolph Island (Milford), Ragged Point Road, and South Bay (along the Westfield Road between Gault Road and Grenville Lane) and any other area experiencing flooding or isolation due to rising floodwaters. If you require assistance evacuating from your home, please contact 648-3333 for assistance. 

Anyone who chooses to evacuate should register with the Canadian Red Cross by calling 1-800-863-6582 or visiting the Reception Centre at 82 Market Place West (Carleton Community Centre) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Residents who choose to stay home should be aware of the risks. They may not be able to access essentials like food, medicine and water for several days, and emergency response will be delayed. 

Be advised that shuttle service in and out of isolated and flooded areas is not available. Boat assets from the Saint John Fire Department and Cooke Aquiculture, as well as a light armoured vehicle from the Military are available for public safety purposes including emergency response, wellness checks and evacuation assistance only.  

Important contact information:
For support with non-emergency evacuations, call 648-3333
For emergencies, call 911
For The Canadian Red Cross services, call 1-800-863-6582
For Saint John Energy, call 658-5252
To report damages to City infrastructure, call 658-4455

Road Closures 

Westfield Road (near Gault Road intersection; detour on Gault)
Westfield Road (at civic 1338 near Grenville Lane)
Lawrence Long Road (near the end)
Dominion Park Road (closed at Tippett and Green Head)
Park Road (at Tippett Drive)
Tippett Road (at civic #663 near Dominion Park)
By Road #7 (at civic #51 near the end)
Beach Road
Bravo Landing (Millidgeville Ferry Entry)
Farry Cove Lane (near the end)
Ragged Point Road (near the beach at the end)
Mellinger Crescent
Kennebecasis Drive
Randolph Bridge on Green Head Road
Pokiok Road at the Bridge
Bay Street (down to one lane)

For updates, visit Saint John River Watch online.

Park Closures

Floodwaters have created uncertainty about the depth of water, integrity of some playground equipment, and the possibility of contaminated water in some of our parks. Residents are asked to observe the posted signage and not enter the following parks at this time, and until further notice:

Tucker Park (North)
Private David Greenslade Peace Park (North)
Dominion Park (West)
Lower fields of Shamrock Park (North)
Robertson Square (North)
Fallsview Park 
Riverview Park (Douglas Avenue)
St. Peter's Ballfield (North)

Two roads have been built up to maintain access for some isolated residents

Ragged Point Road was built up near civic 172 and a single lane is open to local area traffic only. Building up this area will maintain access for approximately 110 people. 

Westfield Road near Mellinger Crescent was built up and a single lane is open to local area traffic. Weight restrictions on the road have been reduced to 10 tons. Traffic lights will remain in place.

Please reduce your speeds in these areas and drive with caution.

Building up these roads has enabled the City to maintain access for close to 1,425 people. 

Garbage Collection Services

For those who live in an isolated flood-impacted area and are on a regular garbage collection schedule, a special collection will be organized after floodwaters recede.

Avoid entering the water 

Residents should be very cautious around floodwaters, and avoid entering the water on foot or by boat. The water may contain biohazard contaminants from a variety of sources including raw sewage being diverted into the River from various communities, and coming from upstream. Currents are strong in many areas, water depth is unknown, and there is debris in the water. 

Respect barricades and avoid driving on any road that is covered with water

Consider your own safety and your neighbours! Do not drive on any roads covered by water. Doing so is dangerous, and causes wakes and other movement that can send water into nearby homes and cause serious damage. It can also cause damage to your vehicle.

Drivers are not permitted to move or drive around barricades. Ignoring or moving these barricades is an offence, and offenders will be charged. Given the scope of the flooding, not every barricade can be staffed by first responders. Whether or not barricades are staffed, they must be respected. 

People who ignore road closures are putting themselves in danger as well as any first responders who may be called to assist them. 

A list of the latest road closures is available online.

A Reception Centre is open at the Carleton Community Centre

A Reception Centre has been opened by the Saint John-EMO and Canadian Red Cross to assist Saint John residents displaced by flooding and chose to leave their homes. The Centre is able to offer residents who are displaced due to flooding with a safe place to register, make arrangement for accommodations, get more information, charge electronics, and receive other support services as required.   

The Location of the Carleton Community Centre is 82 Market Place West, Saint John, NB E2M 1B5

The Centre is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, until further notice. Outside of these hours, affected residents can contact the Canadian Red Cross at: 1-800-863-6582. Those who have chosen to leave their homes and stay with family or friends should register with the Canadian Red Cross so we know you are safe. 

As of today, just over 50 people have registered with The Canadian Red Cross.

Staying home - If you plan to stay at home and are in a flooded area, ensure you have enough water, food and supplies, including medications, for your family for at least 72 hours and take appropriate steps to minimize damages. By staying home, you also assume the risk of a delayed response to any emergency you may have.  

We ask all residents to check in on elderly or vulnerable neighbours. In the event of an emergency, call 911. 

Sandbags are available for residents

Sandbags are available from two distribution centres for all City residents in need. Both locations are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The distribution centres will remain open until further notice. 

Municipal Salt Storage Building
406 Bay Street (located next to Ridgewood Veterans Wing)

Municipal Operations Building
Boars Head Road (located next to the Blue Bins)


The City has distributed close to 25,000 sandbags to residents since Sunday. 

Report issues with water 

Residents can report damages to City infrastructure by calling 658-4455. In case of emergency, call 911. 

For recorded River Watch water levels, people may call 1-888-561-4048 and find the flood level five-day forecasts online.

Wellness checks are being conducted and a joint emergency response is ready

The SJ-EMO remains fully activated with all members to support the community.

Three members from the military (2 RCR) are in Saint John to support the flood response effort. They are working with members of the Saint John Police Force and Saint John Fire Department to conduct wellness checks and emergency response to flood-impacted areas.   

160 wellness checks were conducted as of end of day yesterday, April 25. Wellness checks will continue on a 48-hour cycle until floodwaters recede from isolated areas. 

Saint John Energy is available to assist with disconnects to all flood impacted areas

Saint John Energy has activated its EOC and have equipment and vehicles placed in isolated areas where there is flooding. This access allows crews to reach isolated locations quickly in order to complete disconnects. They are also completing proactive wellness checks.

Customers are asked to make contact with Saint John Energy by calling 658-5252 if they are concerned about rising water reaching their electrical and/or rental hot water tanks/heat pumps.

Once the water has receded, Saint John Energy will have a reconnection process in place to ensure residents and properties are safe. 

To date, 19 Saint John Energy customers have had their services disconnected due to flooding. 

Be aware of carbon monoxide and fire safety 

During a flood, the risk of fire or carbon monoxide exposure is greatly increased. Residents should heed the following guidelines to stay safe: 

Never use generators, pumps or any other fuel-powered equipment indoors. 
Powered equipment should always be placed at least four metres away from any structure. 
In the event of a power outage or in de-energized homes, never use carbon-based fuels (such as kerosene, gas or fuel oil) indoors to heat or cook. These appliances generate carbon monoxide. 
Temporary heating appliances such as propane or kerosene heaters should never be used indoors as they present a fire hazard. 
If exposed to floodwaters, carbon-based fuel equipment should be inspected by professionals before use. 
Residents should ensure their home is equipped with functioning battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. 
Use heating and drying equipment carefully. Keep combustible material away from devices that generate heat. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur quickly. Anyone who believes they have been affected by carbon monoxide poisoning should go outside immediately and then go to the nearest hospital or call 911. 

Private well safety is important for those not on the Saint John Water systems 

People with private wells that are currently under floodwaters should not use their well water. If well water has a persistent odour or discolouration, or if residents believe it has been affected by chemicals such as furnace oil, gasoline or agricultural chemicals, it should not be used for any purpose, even if it has been boiled. More information about well water safety is available online. 

Residents concerned about the safety of their well water should contact the nearest regional office of the Department of Environment and Local Government for further information. 

Saint John Water is not experiencing any concerns to their drinking water service. 

Watch for wildlife on roads 

Drivers are urged to watch for wildlife on roads. With water rising, some animals will be seeking higher ground as their natural territories will become covered by water. The presence of wildlife on roads should be reported to local authorities. 

Dealing with mould and mildew 

Follow these important tips to avoid the health hazards of mould and mildew after flooding. 

Immediate action is important, as houses and furnishings are less likely to grow mould if contents are dried within 48 hours of water receding. 
Avoid skin contact with contaminated material. During cleanup, be sure to wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, a mask and goggles to protect eyes, nose, mouth and skin. People should wash their hands frequently with clean warm water and soap. 
It is important to use a good soap or detergent, and lots of hot water when cleaning. In order to prevent toxic fumes, do not mix cleaning products together, especially bleach and ammonia. 
After cleaning, open doors and windows to air thoroughly and help the drying process. 

Tips for dealing with stress in an emergency 

It is normal for residents to feel anxious about their own safety during an emergency situation, even if they are not directly affected. People react in different ways to stressful events.  If in crisis, there are several 24-hour emergency numbers that are available to help, including CHIMO helpline (1-800-667-5005); Tele-Care (811); and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868). Some employers also offer EFAP services that can be contacted. 

Safe food-handling is important

During and following a flood, affected residents should take precautions to reduce possible risks to their health by practising safe food-handling. They should be sure to carefully inspect all food items and avoid eating any food that may not be safe. Spoiled food may not look contaminated. When in doubt, throw it out. 

When handling refrigerated and frozen food after a power failure, discard any thawed food that has been at room temperature for two or more hours, and any food that has an unusual colour or odour. Foods that have damaged packaging, such as packages that are crushed or dented or have deep rusting, as well as packages that have holes, leakage, punctures or swelling, should be discarded. 

People should not eat any food that may have come into contact with animal waste, chemicals, floodwater, snow, ice, soil or dirt. 

Baby formula containers, cardboard juice containers, home-canned foods and milk containers that have been in contact with floodwater or hazardous material should be thrown away. 

Cooking and eating utensils should be cleaned of all deposits. They should be rinsed, sanitized in a mild bleach solution, and then air dried. After following these steps, utensils used for infant feeding must be boiled for two minutes before use. 

Information to residents 

People are reminded to: 

Consider moving belongings to higher ground if their property is near a waterway or is in an area that is prone to flooding. 
Avoid the banks of waterways, as they become dangerous this time of year. 
Avoid boating, kayaking or other water activities this time of year as currents are strong and carry debris. As well, people should stay away from the edge of the river while walking. 
Stay connected by visiting the City’s River Watch website, or by following the City and other emergency officials on Twitter and Facebook

Stay safe, Saint John and please continue to look out for one another and check on your neighbours, family and friends.

 

i_rc_customerserv_quesMedia Inquiries


Corporate Communications
City of Saint John
11th floor, City Hall
(506) 649-6008
saintjohn.ca